I felt I needed to write this post after seeing so many cyclist putting themselves and others at risk. Today I saw a cyclist attempt to take on a bus when turning across an intersection and just the other week I almost got plowed down by a cyclist on the sidewalk. So this might be redundant for some people but I'm a stickler for safety.
1. Cyclist ride on the right side of the road. It is important that you ride with traffic. Bike lane or not, bikes are considered vehicles and vehicles all travel the same direction. Also, please keep to the side of the road and ride single-file, if you want cars to give you space on the road you need to give them space too.
2. Do not ride on the sidewalk. Sidewalks are for pedestrians and it is really hazardous to try to ride beside them. If you feel you can not safely ride on the road please dismount and walk your bike on the sidewalk.
3. All road rules apply. This includes obeying stop signs, traffic lights, yield signs, one-way streets, etc. The only way for the roads to remain safe is for everyone to follow the same rules.
4. Wear a helmet. It is so important (and the law) that you wear a helmet whenever you are on your bike. And please remember to do up the straps, it's only going to save your life if it is done up. If you aren't sure if your helmet is right for you, stop by the local bike shop and ask for a fitting.
5. Light up. You need to be seen on the road. Wear light colors (black won't do), reflective material and make sure you have rear and front lights.
6. Be aware. Lets face it, not all drivers know how to drive with cyclists. Have a mirror on your handle bars so you can see cars behind you, don't listen to music so you can hear approaching cars, make sure you signal and shoulder check, and anything else you can do to make sure you get home safe.
In general, the way to be a good cyclist is to use common sense and consider the safety of not only your self but of everyone else on the road (as we should do when we are driving). If you need a refresher in the art of be a safe cyclist visit http://www.bikesense.bc.ca/manual.htm but never give up the bike!