There are a lot of people out on bikes either for commuting or exercise which is great to see. However, I've seen a lot of risky and unsafe behavior. The following is a list of things that we wish cyclists would adhere to when out on the road. I'm not denigrating cyclists (as I am one myself) but wish people would be more careful.
(1) Wear a helmet:
It is not worth the risk to go without one. If you slip and fall or get in a car accident, you are automatically going to lose whether you were in the right or not. I see far too many people, children and teenagers especially, who ride their bikes in the bike lane or in traffic who aren't wearing a helmet. One slip up and they could end up dead or severely injured particularly if a vehicle is involved in a crash. Read the following for a very sobering account of what can happen even if you are in an area that you think is safe.
(caution: it is quite graphic)
(2) Adjust your helmet properly:
When I do see people wearing helmets, many of them are wearing them improperly. For example, many of the kids at Foothill or Amador are wearing helmets that are pushed back on their hear, thereby exposing their forehead. If they fell forward they could hit their head and the injury might not be too different from what would happen if they weren't wearing any helmet at all. The straps should be adjusted so that a fall does not cause the helmet to be pushed back.
(3) Use hand signals at stoplights and intersections:
We understand why many cyclists might ride two abreast or down the middle of a narrow and busy road such as main street. We wouldn't want to see anyone get hit by a person opening their car door either. However, when cyclists are in the road just like the cars are, it is imperative that they indicate which way they plan to turn when they approach an intersection. If they ride down the middle of the road and act as if they *might* go through the intersection, but then suddenly turn left or right, this could create havoc if the car behind them didn't realize this. I've seen cars and cyclists get in minor crashes when this exact thing happened. cyclists are usually the automatic loser in such situations. Using hand signals takes no time at all and can help make the roadways safer.
(4) Ride predictably:
Please hold your line and try to ride in a predictable fashion, particularly if you are not riding in the shoulder either because you can't (due to debris) or if there isn't a shoulder and you have to ride in the roadway. When cyclists weave in and out of the shoulder or from the side to the middle of the road in back, it creates an unsafe situation for cars or other cyclists behind them, particularly if they are thinking of passing the wobbly rider. Buy a set of rollers if you need to work on bike handling skills :)
(5) Please make it easy for cars to pass:
I've been on roads like foothill, sunol and calaveras, when cyclists have been riding 2-3 abreast in the middle of the road even when cars are piling up behind them. If a driver taps his or her horn lightly, that's not a sign of annoyance or frustration. Some drivers will do that as a courtesy to let cyclists know that there are a line of cars behind them that might like to pass or are about to pass them. They want the cyclists to know that a car is coming up so they won't be surprised by it and will hold their line as the cars pass. On more than one occasion It's really rude when cyclist respond to a tap on the horn by fanning out and blocking the roadway instead of singling up. When cyclists display such bad manners, they then have no right to complain about antagonistic drivers because that sort of behavior only fuels the fire. Think about it. It is to everyone's advantage to let the cars pass and get out of the way of the cyclists. If singling up can make it possible for cars to pass, then the cyclist should do exactly that instead of blocking the road.