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Bicycle Safety

Riding Bicycles Safely


Just like it takes time and experience to learn to drive a vehicle safely; being able to safely ride your bike in traffic also requires preparation and practice. Confidence in traffic comes with learning how to navigate and communicate with other drivers, bicyclists, and pedestrians.

Start by riding your bike in a safe environment away from traffic (a park, path, or empty parking lot). Take an on-bike class through your school, recreation department, local bike shop or bike advocacy group.

When you ride in the same space as cars, trucks, and other motorized vehicles, it is important that you are visible, predictable, and safe.


Be Visible

Wear equipment to protect you and make you more visible to others – a bike helmet, bright clothing, and reflective gear.

Use lights at night: Kansas law requires a front head lamp with white light visible from 500 feet and a rear red reflector visible from 600 feet when riding after dusk.

Avoid or minimize sidewalk riding. Cars don’t expect to see moving traffic on a sidewalk and don’t look for you when backing out of a driveway or turning.

If crossing a street, motorists will look left, right, left for traffic. When you are to the driver’s left, the driver is more likely to see you.

Be Predictable

By driving predictably, motorists can expect what you intend to do and can react to avoid a crash.

Bicyclists must follow the same rules and responsibilities as motorists. Yield the right of way when required. Travel in the same direction as traffic and signal and look over your shoulder before changing lane position or turning. Obey street signs, signals, and road markings, just like a car.

Follow lane markings, do not turn left from the right lane, and do not ride straight through from a right turn-only lane.

Kansas Bicycle Map

Kansas Bicycle Laws


Be Safe

Make sure your bike is in working order - check the tires and brakes frequently.

Bicyclists are encouraged to wear a properly fitting helmet in good condition.  Parents should set a good example by wearing their helmets.

Ride with only one person per seat. Carry all items in a backpack or strapped to the back of the bike. Tuck and tie your shoelaces and pant legs so they don’t get caught in your bike chain. Keep at least one hand on the handlebars at all times.

Plan your route — if driving as a vehicle on the road, choose routes with less traffic and slower speeds. Your safest route may be away from traffic altogether, in a bike lane or on a bike path.

Be focused and alert. Anticipate what others may do before they do it. This is defensive riding — the quicker you notice a potential conflict, the quicker you can act to avoid a potential crash.

Slow and look for traffic (left-right-left and behind) when crossing a street from a sidewalk; be prepared to stop and follow the pedestrian signals. Slow down and look for cars backing out of driveways or turning. 

Assume the other person doesn’t see you; look ahead for hazards or situations to avoid, like potholes, train tracks, or debris on your path. Do not weave in and out of parked/stopped cars.

No texting, listening to music or using anything that distracts you by taking your eyes and ears or your mind off the road and traffic. Do not ride with headphones.  You cannot hear traffic, trains, emergency vehicles or other warnings.

Signal turns: Always use hand signals to draw driver’s attention.

Check your city’s laws to see if bicycle riding is forbidden in certain areas.

Bikes should be parked in bike racks and not be attached to trees, fire hydrants, traffic control devices, street lights, or utility poles. Don’t park bicycles in the path of pedestrians or vehicles on streets, alleys, or sidewalks. 

Driving Safely Around Bicyclists


People on bicycles have the same rights and responsibilities as people behind the wheel of a vehicle. Yield to bicyclists as you would motorists and do not underestimate their speed. This will help you avoid turning in front of a bicyclist traveling near an intersection or driveway.

Drivers turning right on red should make a complete stop before the crosswalk and look left-right-left and behind before turning to avoid hitting a bicyclist approaching from the right rear.

Give cyclists at least 3 feet of space and slow down when passing them. Do not pass a bicyclist if you will be making a right turn in front of them. Do not pass a bicyclist on a narrow two-lane road when oncoming traffic is near.

Look for cyclists when opening your vehicle’s doors.

Do not honk your horn when approaching a bicyclist – you could startle the rider and cause a crash.

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