If you've recently decided to take up biking more often, either for its health benefits or to reduce your environmental footprint, you should commend yourself. Choosing to ride a bike instead of driving a car is great for a ton of reasons. However, not every new cyclist knows how to behave once they get on a major road. Here are some of the important road rules new cyclists need to know to keep themselves and those around them safe on the road.
Follow vehicle road rules
A good rule of thumb is this: if you follow a rule or law in a car, you should follow that rule or law on a bike as well. You aren't above standard driving rules just because you're on a bike. There are even bike speed limits in certain parts of the world. Stay on the right side of the road, read and follow all posted road signs, and wear the right safety gear to ensure everyone's safety.
Stay off the sidewalk
If you are riding your bike, not walking next to it, you should act like you're in an automobile. The sidewalk is off-limits for you to ride on unless there is absolutely no other choice. Especially in more crowded areas, riding a bike on a sidewalk presents all kinds of risks, and most people consider it extremely rude. Stick to the road unless you want to simply walk your bike somewhere.
Always yield to pedestrians
One of the most important road rules new cyclists need to know is where they stand in the hierarchy of drivers. It's a very simple rule: anyone in any kind of vehicle should yield to a pedestrian. When you're on a bike, you fall in the middle of the hierarchy. You need to yield to pedestrians, while car drivers need to yield to both pedestrians and bike riders. However, not every driver knows this rule, so don't assume every vehicle knows that they need to yield to you on your bike.
Utilize hand signals for turns
Just as cars use turn signals, cyclists also need to indicate when they plan to turn one way or the other. For a cyclist, that means using your arm and hand as a signal. A fully outstretched left arm means you plan to turn left, and a left arm that you bend at the elbow and point toward the sky means you plan to turn right.
Phone use laws still exist
Whether you're in a car or on a bike, you shouldn't look at your phone while in motion. You may not be able to do as much damage as a distracted automobile driver, but serious accidents can still occur thanks to distracted cycling. Keep your focus on the road, not on your phone, if you want to stay safe on your bike.