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Riding a Bicycle in Urban Areas

Updated on January 30, 2017

Tips for Riding Safely.

Bicycling in the City.
Bicycling in the City.
Do you see the bicyclist when driving?
Do you see the bicyclist when driving?
A bicyclist in busy traffic signaling his intentions.
A bicyclist in busy traffic signaling his intentions.
Common bike.
Common bike.

Bicycling Riding in Urban Cities. Are you using safe bicycling techniques?


Are you thinking about bicycling for exercise, pleasure, or to commute to work in urban areas? If yes there are a few points you may want to consider whether you are new or experienced with bicycling. I personally think bicycling is a greater way to enjoy the sightseeing thrills available when following the many new trails that have been established in many cities.

If you are going to bicycle it is important to observe three important aspects of bicycling. They are personal safety, proper selection of a bike, and observing rules of the road and the laws of the community you are/live in. As you know bicycles have three contact points. They are the handlebars, the seat, and the pedals. You should not ride any bike you cannot properly control and reach the required safety features. Your bike should be comfortable, convenient, enjoyable, and safely maintained.


Selecting a Bike:

If you are going to purchase a bike for cycling in urban cities you will likely be choosing one of the following types of bikes. Consult a bike shop that you trust for more information specific for you.

Road Bike: A very common light bike suitable for those seeking speed and riding on paved roads. They usually have narrow tires, derailleur gears, or single speed or fixed gears.

Touring Bike: A touring bike is designed for touring and carrying heavy loads.

Mountain Bike: A rugged bike with adjustable components. The tires should not be knobby or ridged if a smoother ride is desired. Consult a knowledgeable person.

Cyclocross Bike: This bike will allow for wider tires than the traditional road bikes.

Folding Bikes: This bike is recommended if you use different methods to commute or if you like to bicycle while traveling in a car during road trips.

Electric Assist Bike: This bike should be considered if you will need assistance in commuting or you might opt to not enjoy bicycling.

Hybrid Bikes: A hybrid bike is a combination of different bike characteristics. They can tolerate a wide range of riding conditions and applications. It usually take's the best of a road, touring, or mountain bike. A hybrid bike is often designed for a variety of uses.

Utility Bike: A utility bicycle is designed for utility cycling and is typically designed for commuting, shopping, and running errands in towns and cities.


Personal Safety and the Bicycle:

If you are bicycling a review of the following minimum items should be considered for your comfort and safety.

Helmet: In many states it is the law to have a helmet especially for children under 12 years of age. Find a helmet that fits properly and is comfortable. Every bicycle helmet sold in the United States is required to meet the requirements of the Consumer Product Safety Commission. It will have a sticker inside the helmet.

Handle Bars: The handle bars are important for your comfort and riding style. They are usually adjusted in either a riser or swept back style or in a drop position. The style you select will either be for your most comfort and whether the ride will be either short or longer. It is important to remember that pain, discomfort, or other negative conditions indicate your bike fit is wrong and needs changed. Adjustments should be made as needed so you ride is enjoyable and painless.

Foot Pedals: The foot pedal is a preferred choice. Please make sure your legs can reach the pedals. The pedals are usually covered with a strap but many prefer customizing with a foot cage or a toe clip. You will decide what is best for you at some point.

Brakes: It is recommend that you choose a bike with brake levers on the handle bars. They provide a faster brake time.

Seat: Choose a comfortable seat or saddle. There are a few options for seats from leather, vinyl, padded, cutout, and others. It is recommended you test your seat to find one that will provide you with some comfort during short and long rides.

Accessories: There are a number of accessories that you should consider if you are using your bike for urban commutes. These accessories are baskets or saddle bags for carrying things to and from. You should install reflectors on your bicycle to help others to see you. A blinking light on both ends of the bike to help others see you is recommended. A bell or horn is recommended to acknowledge people and let them know you are coming in their direction. A front headlight is also recommended. It is highly recommended that you get review mirrors for the bicycle to see what is on your side and behind you. Being as safe as possible is your responsibility.


Basic Road Safety:

You will be sharing the road with others on bicycles and with those driving cars and trucks. You must bicycle in a safe and defensive manner. It most likely that you also drive and are aware of the habits of drivers with much bigger vehicles. At a minimum please keep the following in mind when you are riding.

Be Predictable: When riding be predictable. Do not engage in quick actions or maneuvers where others can not predict your intentions. Do not be erratic switching lanes, riding on sidewalks (if not permitted), weaving in between cars and vehicles, or in a threatening manner affecting pedestrians. This all may be a cause of a fatal accident.

Obey Traffic Laws: Obey all traffic laws. Stop at the stop sign. Stop at the light if it is red. You should ride with the flow of traffic. It is recommended for your safety to yield to vehicles. Review the laws of your community and state for bicycle riding. In Pennsylvania every vehicle passing a bicycle must provide a minimum of four feet clearance. When turning please use hand signals.

Eyes Open: Please keep your eye's open and be aware of what is happing around you. It is that important.

In closing, there is much more to consider than this hub addressed. You may want to consider riding gear, being prepared for bad weather, road hazards, bike maintenance, accident preparation, and other matters. Thanks for reading. If you have any questions, please consult biking expert near you. I bid you Happy Bicycling.


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      sheilamyers 3 years ago

      Thanks for the information about riding bikes in urban areas. The last time I rode in such a situation was when I was a child. I'm not sure which is more hazardous, riding in an urban setting or along the country roads where people don't really expect to see people on bicycles. Either way, the tips you provided apply to both.

    • Ronald Bachner profile image
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      Ronald Bachner 3 years ago from Pittsburgh

      Hello Sheila. I hope you are well. Thanks for your comments on my hub on bicycling in urban areas. I prefer the country and on trails but using common sense is what is important.

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