For some, bicycles are their only mode of transportation – work, school, errands. For others, pedaling down the road brings the family together for exercise or the enjoyment of a crisp, fall morning.

Bicycles, like other vehicles, have their own sets of rules and regulations in Connecticut to keep you, your family and others safe from harm. Before setting your feet on the pedals, get your family together, and learn about bicycle safety.

Check your bike

Before heading out on the road, go over your bicycle. East Hartford has an ABC checklist you can follow.

Air

  • Check your tires and inflate to the rated pressure
  • Spin the wheel to check for punctures or tears
  • Repair any damage

Brakes

  • Check brake pads
  • Look for wear and tear
  • Check brake levers

Cranks and chains

  • Check for rust
  • Look for any debris stuck in the chains from your last ride
  • Tighten cranks

To prevent brain injury, follow the 2-V-1 rule for helmets. Make sure there is a two-finger width above your eyebrows to the bottom of your helmet and a one finger width under your chin, and make sure the strap forms a V under your ears.

On the road

Not only do you need to learn about rules concerning bicycles, but you must know how motor vehicles play a role in those guidelines. In most cases, you will have a bike lane to ride in. This may give you a sense of safety, but drivers may not pay attention to their surroundings, and an accident is likely to happen.

Vehicles cannot drive or park in a bicycle lane, and the drivers who are turning must yield to bicyclists who are going straight through the intersection. In turn, a bicyclist must use hand signals to give the motorist warning if he or she intends to stop or turn.

Be aware of the danger zones such as the opening of car doors or drivers who do not keep a safe distance – not less than 3 feet. Always check behind you before merging into traffic or going through an intersection.