Bicycle Safety Tips

Make Sure Your Bike Routine Stays Safe with These Easy Tips

Check out these great cycling safety tips from the book "Cutting Your Car Use" by Randall Ghent and Anna Semlyen.

Cycling Safety

  • A bike helmet is recommended, and in some areas is required by law. Protection will vary according to fitting, speed and other factors. See for information, or ask at your local bike store. Gloves are also a good idea.
  • Front and rear bicycle lights are vital at night, and again, may be required by law in some areas. Some LED lights last for many hours even with rechargeable batteries (e.g., nickel-metal-hydrides). Dynamo- powered lights are another alternative.
  • Make sure you are seen. Use maximum-visibility pedals, put reflectors on your bike and wear reflective clothing if possible. Look for puncture-resistant tires with a reflective strip.
  • If you are new to a bike, you might want to avoid major roads, difficult intersections or left turns. Read the online guide “How to Not Get Hit by Cars,” at Bicycle
  • Consider insurance for personal accident, injury and theft, or check you’re existing policies to see if bicycle coverage is included or can be added. 


  • Keep tires inflated to the pressure shown on the tire.  
  • Check that you can rock the front of the bike by the handlebars with the front brake on without movement of the headset (the bolt your handlebar stem slots into).
  • Check that brakes and gears are working efficiently with cables that are not frayed.
  • Clean and lubricate the chain with synthetic dry lube such as Tri-Flow, Pedro’s or Finish Line.
  • Check chain tension. It should be firm, not sloppy.
  • Correct saddle height is when, with your heel on the lower pedal, your leg is almost straight. 

Secure your Bike

  • Buy a good lock — D-lock models are usually best, but are not all created equal. Choose a medium-quality  ($20+) or high-quality ($40+) model, based on what you can afford. Kryptonite (see Kryptonitelock. com) is the brand to look for, and is available at most bike shops.
  • If you live in a theft-prone area, you have three choices: buy an expensive lock, ride a cheap bike (the low-stress option), or always keep your bike with you or secured indoors.
  • A folding bike kept with you is unlikely to be stolen.
  • If you go the expensive lock route, Kryptonite offers the  “New York Fahgettaboudit” lock ($100+), which should deter or confound any potential thief. The company is so confident about this lock that it offers  $3,500 in anti-theft protection in the US and Canada.  The similar but slightly less tough “New York Chain” and the D-lock equivalent “New York 3000 Lock” sell for $65–80 and offer $3,000 in anti-theft protection.
  • You can find much cheaper D-lock models that still offer $1,000+ in anti-theft protection.
  • Buy an inconspicuous, inexpensive bicycle. Larger BMX and mountain bikes are stolen twice as often as other types.5Unusual; women’s or visually unattractive models face less risk.
  • When you leave your bike, lock it to an immovable object. Remember to secure any quick release parts, or get them replaced with fixed versions.
  • Note your bicycle’s make, color and frame number.
  • Get your bicycle registered, by going to your local police station. 


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