Road Cycling Safety Tips To Keep You Alive

Professionally sized bike is one of the road cycling safety tips

I don’t know if any of you have been in a road cycling accident. I have. It was back in the days before bike helmets were even a thing. I was biking to St. Michael’s Hospital in downtown Toronto where I worked as a dietitian. Because of the traffic, I cycled very close to the curb, so close in fact that my front tire got caught in a sewer grate and threw me head first onto the sidewalk.

What stands out after 30 plus years is the feel of my head smashing into unforgiving pavement. A black eye (the only one I’ve had) was the least of my worries. What I did endure was several years of sudden blackouts that I can only attribute to the head injury.

It took me some time to get my mojo back but I never gave up my love of bike riding. And I never want to be in a bike accident again. These 20 road cycling safety tips, if you practice them, should prevent you from becoming an accident statistic.

This post includes some affiliate links. If you make a purchase via one of these links, I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you very much for your support.

Cycling through beautiful farm country just outside of Peterborough
Cycling single file through beautiful farm country just outside of Peterborough

Get a bike that fits you – one of the top road cycling safety tips

Ride a bicycle that fits. It it’s too big you’re setting yourself up for a mishap.

Tune your bike

Tune your bike regularly. Pay close attention to your brakes, chain and gears. Keep your tires correctly inflated.

Assorted bike repair tools and an air pump with a universal valve at the start of the Legacy Trail
Assorted bike repair tools and an air pump with a universal valve at the start of the Legacy Trail

Properly fitted bike helmets are important

One of the hugely important road cycling safety tips is to wear a proper fitting helmet. If it’s not sitting appropriately on your head (eg It’s too far back and I can see your entire forehead) it won’t do you much good. I also like a sun visor built into the helmet so I have less eye strain in bright sunlight.

Don’t assume a driver sees you

Assume drivers don’t see you. In this age of texting that’s going to be far more common than ever before.

What to wear when you bike

Wear bright coloured clothing. I find fluorescent green is the colour that stands out from a distance in natural light. Wear reflective clothing at night – one of the common sense road cycling safety tips.

Parked cars

Beware of parked cars. They make me more nervous than a moving car. I always give them a wide berth as I can’t tell you how many times drivers and passengers have opened a car door without checking for bikes beforehand.

Forget the phone – one of the most important road cycling safety tips

Put down the phone when you’re biking. If you have to make a call or text, pull over and stop your bike to do so.

What happened to single file bike riding?

Ride single file. I am in awe at the chances so many cyclists take riding two abreast on busy roads. It’s just not worth the risk.

Ride single file to stay safe on the roads
Ride single file to stay safe on the roads

Remember your turning signals

Use hand signals to indicate you are turning or stopping.

Lose the headphones

Don’t wear headphones. You can’t hear cars coming up behind you.


Be alert to electric bikes, especially when you’re about to turn. I find they appear out of nowhere when you don’t expect them – and with their numbers increasing, it’s even more important to recognize an e-bike from afar.

Bike lights

Ensure you havelights on your bike – in the front and the back.

Don’t forget a bike bell

Put abell on your bike to prevent bike – pedestrian and bike – bike collisions. Moreoptions for bells here. It’s the law in some places.

Ride to the road and weather conditions

Ride to the conditions. If it’s raining, braking takes longer. Pump your brakes for a smoother stop.

Ride to the conditions means slowing down in the rain
Ride to the conditions means slowing down in the rain – Photo credit: Genaro Servin on Pexels

The right clothing

Don’t wear loosely worn scarves. If you have long shoe laces, double knot them so they don’t get caught in the chain.

Bike gloves

Wearbike gloves for a better grip. They also make bike more comfortable and save your hands from getting burnt on sunny days.

Wildlife encounters

Watch for animals on the road. I for one have had to avoid snakes, birds, deer, squirrels and bighorn sheep. On some bike rides in bear country, I would recommend carrying quick to access bear spray.

Watch for animals both large and small on the road
Watch for animals both large and small on the road

Watch for road hazards

Pay close attention to the condition and hazards of the road. Be particularly wary of sewer grates, train tracks, cracks in the pavement and glass – one of the important road cycling safety tips. 


Watch your speed. It should go without saying but obey traffic laws.

Please be courteous

Don’t be that jerk on a bike that gives the rest of us a bad name. Be courteous to fellow cyclists, pedestrians and drivers.

20 Road Cycling Safety Tips
Road cycling safety – stop and get off your bike if you want to use your phone – Photo credit: Clem Onojeghuo on Pexels

I hope to be riding my bike into my 80’s – without any further accidents.

20 Road Cycling Safety Tips
I got my bike professionally sized so it fits me properly

Further reading on biking in Canada and the US

Click on the photo to bookmark to your Pinterest boards.

20 road cycling safety tips to keep you safe and alive

My Cart Close (×)

Your cart is empty
Browse Shop