Many bicycle related crashes resulting in injury or death are associated with the bicyclist's behavior, including such things as not wearing a bicycle helmet, riding into a street without stopping, turning left or swerving into traffic that is coming from behind, running a stop sign, and riding the wrong way in traffic. To maximize your safety, always wear a helmet AND follow the rules of the road.
Rules of the Road - Bicycling on the Road
Cyclists have the same rights and the same responsibilities to follow the rules of the road as motorists.
When riding, always:
Go With the Traffic Flow. Ride on the right in the same direction as other vehicles. Go with the flow - not against it.
Obey All Traffic Laws. A bicycle is a vehicle and you're a driver. When you ride in the street, obey all traffic signs, signals, and lane markings.
Yield to Traffic When Appropriate. If there is no stop sign or traffic signal and you are coming from a smaller roadway (out of a driveway, from a sidewalk, a bike path, etc.), you must slow down and look to see if the way is clear before proceeding. This also means yielding to pedestrians who have already entered a crosswalk.
Be Predictable. Ride in a straight line, not in and out of cars. Signal your moves to others.
Stay Alert at All Times. Use your eyes and ears. Watch out for potholes, cracks, wet leaves, storm grates, railroad tracks, or anything that could make you lose control of your bike. You need your ears to hear traffic and avoid dangerous situations; don't wear a headset when you ride.
Look Before Turning. When turning left or right, always look behind you for a break in traffic, then signal before making the turn. Watch for left or right turning traffic.
Watch for Parked Cars. Ride far enough out from the curb to avoid the unexpected from parked cars (like doors opening, or cars pulling out).