Riding Around Town
The State of Nebraska and the City of Lincoln give bicyclists many of the same privileges as well as responsibilities which are granted to motorists. In addition, bicyclists are allowed on almost all of the same roadways as vehicular users with notable exception to interstate highways and freeways. Here are a few basic concepts which will help cyclists avoid conflict with both motorists and pedestrians:
- Always wear a helmet.
- Obey the rules of the road.
- Stop at stop signs and lights.
- Ride with the flow of traffic, not against it.
- Yield to pedestrians.
- If you will be riding at dawn, dusk or at night, be sure to use bike lights and reflectors. This is not just for your safety, but the safety of others. In addition, the City of Lincoln requires the use of front and rear lights when riding at night.
- Don't hug the curb too closely. Curbs can be dangerous for a cyclist not to mention they trap debris which can puncture a tire.
- Ride in single file. Nebraska State law requires cyclists to ride single file at all times on roadways.
- Don't ride on sidewalks unless no other safe option exists. Motorists do not expect a bicycle entering the roadway from the sidewalk, making intersections more dangerous for cyclists riding on the sidewalk. Also, it is illegal for cyclists to ride on the sidewalk in downtown Lincoln.
- Beware of cars coming out of alleys and driveways. Drivers are often not looking for a cyclist and often misjudge their speed.
- Ride in the lane of traffic when it is heavy and slow-moving. Riding with traffic when the vehicles are moving about the same speed as a cyclist is safer than staying far to the edge of the roadway.
- Maintain a straight course as much as possible and avoid swerving in and out of parked cars. Predictability is very important for both cyclist safety and the safety of others.
- Watch out for opening car doors. Maintain at least several feet from parked cars in case someone opens their door unexpectedly.
- To change lanes and/or merge, make sure there is an opening by looking behind you for traffic. Be sure to signal your intension to change lanes or merge. The traffic in the lane you want to move into has the right of way.
- Make eye contact with drivers and signal your turns.
- When passing buses, be sure to only pass on the left. Buses have a blind spot behind and on their right sides, so by passing on the right, you could get squeezed into the curb if the bus pulls over for a passenger. Also, watch for pedestrians crossing the street when passing the front of the bus.
- Ride predictably.