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Stay Visible While Cycling

Skills + Knowledge
February 12, 2019
Stay Visible While Cycling
Stay Visible While Cycling

Cycling is one of the healthiest forms of transportation. Not only does it help you stay in shape and keep weight off your knees, but it’s also one of the greenest ways to commute. Unfortunately, sometimes it’s not possible to cycle in an area without any cars.

If you are on the road with motorists, here are some top ways you can ensure that you’re visible at any time of day:

Dress for the Occasion 

When you’re cycling in the daytime, you’ll want to wear something florescent so you’ll catch the eye of others on the road. Bright yellows, green, pink, and orange are all good here. When you’re cycling at night it won’t really matter what color your clothing is, as most people won’t see you anyway. What’s more important is choosing to wear something that’s reflective so you’ll stand out against a car’s headlights. You can wear a reflective vest or attach extra reflectors to your bicycle or helmet.

Don’t Pass on the Right

When you pass on the right, it’s nearly impossible for motorists to see you. This sets you up for both the right hook (a scenario where a car turns right, directly into you) and the left cross (a motorist turns left while you try to ride straight). Because you’re not visible to traffic to your left and oncoming traffic, it’s always safer to simply ride in the center of your lane and not try to pass a line of idling cars on the right.

Avoid the Door

Moving vehicles aren’t the only danger—motorists exiting parked cars aren’t likely to see you either. There isn’t really a good way to stay more visible for passengers. Many cities recommend pedestrians reach across their shoulder to unbuckle a seatbelt, but that rarely happens in practice. Your best option is to make it physically impossible for a motorist to hit you with his door. The average car door is 5’ long, so if you ride no closer than 4’ to parked cars, you’ll be fine. If you can reach out and touch a side mirror, you’re too close.

Invest in a Better Bell

Even if you’re not cycling on the road, you’ll want joggers or other cyclists to know you’re approaching. A great way to do so is with a loud bicycle bell. If you bought your bike from your local cycle shop it’s possible you don’t even have a bell. You’ll want to pay more than $5 for a bell because the inexpensive options or bells that come from department store bicycles are very quiet and won’t really grab anyone’s attention. BikePacking did a great review of some of the most popular bell options on the market today. 

This article was created Personal Injury Help (, an organization dedicated to providing the public with information about personal injury and safety information. Nothing in this article should be construed as legal advice, and it is intended for informational use only. Be sure to review your local cycling ordinances to ensure you ride safe and legally!

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