How to Commute by Bicycle

Sharing the road

  • Bicycles are vehicles and should act and be treated as such on the roadways
  • Laws that apply to motorists apply to cyclists as well; ride on the right, with traffic
  • Ride in the right-most lane that goes in the direction that you are travelling

    Signals and signs

  • Obey all stop signs, traffic lights and lane markings
  • Look before you change lanes or signal a turn; indicate your intention, then act
  • Identify hazards and adjust your position on the roadway accordingly


  • If the lane is too narrow or you are going the same speed as traffic, take the lane
  • Be visible and predictable at all times; wear bright clothing and signal turns
  • Always wear a helmet to protect your head in the event of a crash

    Route choice

  • Consider distance, traffic volume, road width and condition, and terrain
  • Some routes may be a bit longer, but much more pleasant; carry a map for detours
  • Allow extra time for a new route; try riding different routes on the weekend

    Bike Parking

  • Try to find an indoor parking area in your office or building for your bike
  • Lock your bike to an immovable object in a highly visible area out of the elements
  • Ask your employer or building owner to provide safe, covered parking

    Clothing Considerations

  • If you have a short commute, ride in your work clothes at a relaxed pace
  • Cycling specific clothing is an option for longer, more strenuous rides
  • Use waterproof and breathable fabrics to stay comfortable and dry


  • Showering should not be necessary in the morning when it is cool outside
  • Many workplaces have showers in buildings; inquire about access
  • Some health clubs offer shower-only memberships for a few dollars a month

    The Bike

  • Any bike that you feel comfortable on will work; make sure it is in good working order
  • Consider weather protection such as fenders and a rack for carrying capacity
  • Invest in a rechargeable headlight; helmet/handlebar mounts available


  • Have your bike checked over by your local bike shop
  • Learn how to repair a flat, fix a chain and inspect brake pads for wear
  • Replace tires when they are worn out; use tire liners if you experience excessive flats


  • Heat, cold and precipitation require special preparation
  • Fenders and rain gear keep out rain; layers/wind-proofing for cold days
  • Some cycling-specific gear can keep you cool and dry on hot days
    [Why Commute] [How to Commute] [Bike Commuting Gear] [Support Bike Commuting]
    [Bike Week 2000] [Bike to Work Day 2000]

    The League of American Bicyclists promotes cycling for fun, fitness and transportation, and work through advocacy and education for a bicycle-friendly America. For more information, contact them at
    1612 K Street, NW, Suite 401; Washington, DC 20006
    phone: 202/822-1333; fax: 202/822-1334
    web site:;