A Quick Guide to Safe City Cycling

Why following the rules of the road helps all cyclists

For all its benefits to health and the environment, city cycling often get a bad rap.  As much as we hate to admit this, the sentiment is understandable: until recently, most cities had little to no cycling infrastructure, such that the few cyclists out there had to be brazen and, frankly, rude in order to carve out space in a hostile environment.

To many people, the typical representatives of the two-wheeled lifestyle aren’t everyday commuters who stop for red lights, but delivery people, alley cat messengers and a particularly hardcore set of road warriors for whom traffic laws have little meaning.

This group of trailblazers also happens to play a major role in modern cycling advocacy, and we have them to thank in large part for recent growth in the mileage of bike lanes nationwide, and even for paving the way for the modern bike share boom.

But now that the field is opening up, it’s more important than ever for cyclists to set a good example. If cycling is ever going to be taken seriously as a form of transportation and the safety of cyclists is to be given equal weight to that of motorists, city riders need to be extra careful about how they behave in traffic. Weaving through pedestrians at a crosswalk is not only illegal and dangerous, it makes all cyclists look bad.

And, need it be said, careless cycling is also dangerous. It’s a sad fact that when an accident happens, the presumption of guilt is almost always on the cyclist, even when he or she has done nothing wrong. No need to add to the risk by playing fast and loose with the rules of the road.

With that in mind, we came across an infographic posted by our friends at Tree Hugger that we thought was worth sharing, called “Keeping Your Wheels Turning.”

Originally published by London law firm Osbornes Solicitors LLP, it’s a compact guide to safe urban cycling. Since the firm is British, you’re going to have to remember that left means right (wrong side of the road), and read “lorry” as “truck”—but the gist is the same.


Courtesy of Osbornes Solicitors LLP.