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Bike Etiquette and Common Sense

I. Introduction

With few exceptions, bicyclists on public roadways assume the same rights and responsibilities as automobile drivers, and are subject to the same state laws and local ordinances.

It is imperative that we cyclists hold up our end of the bargain! Bicycling is beneficial for personal health and when used instead of a car as transit to town or country it is beneficial to our environment. Many people are working hard to improve bicycling conditions here in Marin. We will not succeed if mannerless cycling is the norm.

Bicyclists need to show respect to get respect. We hope that you will make it a point to ride as an ambassador of cycling. If you have friends who ride as if no one else mattered, do bicyclists everywhere a favor by trying to talk them down from bogus rationalizations.

Ride responsibly! We must ALL adopt this Bicyclists' Code of Conduct.

II. Bicyclists' Code of Conduct

  1. Never ride against traffic.
  2. Ride as near to the right as practicable*.
  3. Stop at stop signs and red lights*.
  4. Honor others' right of way.
  5. Use hand signals.
  6. With traffic, ride single file.
  7. Be predictable; don't weave.
  8. Follow lane markings.
  9. Don't needlessly block the road*.
  10. Use lights at night.

*--Note that the two most common offenses of bicyclists are running stop signs, and groups of cyclists blocking the road.

1. Stop at stop signs/lights: Stop at all stop signs and red lights. If two vehicles arrive at an intersection at the same time, the vehicle to the right has the right of way. Politely indicate others' right of way with a hand gesture. For your own safety, never insist on your own right of way. Pedestrians always have the right of way. Your courtesy will be noticed and appreciated by other road users.

2. Group riding: a) Most Vehicle Codes states that bicyclists are entitled to the full width of the road for at least purposes of overtaking, left turns, avoiding obstacles, when approaching a place where a right turn is authorized, and when riding in a substandard width lane. Generally, it is prudent to stay as far to the right as practicable. When riding with others, do not block traffic, ride single file. Be aware of other road users at all times.

b) When stopping for a stop sign in a group, queue up in small numbers and proceed when it is your turn, allowing other road users their right of way. The idea is to cross the intersection as safely and quickly as possible without testing the patience of other road users. Self-policing and courteous riding will go far.

Wear a helmet, bright clothing, and keep your bicycle in good working order. Helpful hint: Modern, good quality brakes along with good technique make stopping at stop signs much easier.

Bicyclists and any passengers under 18 years of age (including children in attached bicycle seats or in or on towed trailers), are required to wear a properly fitted and fastened bicycle helmet. This helmet must be labeled to show that it meets applicable safety standards.

Youngsters under the age of nine lack the physical and mental development to interact safely in a complex traffic environment.

Look at our Parent Information Sheet on Kids and Bicycling.