Riding a bicycle in Columbus has never been better. Whether you’re an experienced rider or new to city cycling, a few simple steps will make you feel more comfortable and confident riding in urban and suburban environments.
Plan a sensible route
Columbus streets and parks offer a wide variety of bicycle lanes and paths, from shared traffic lanes to car-free greenways. Choosing a route that suits your skill and comfort levels can improve your experience on two wheels.
Do a pre-ride check
Before you start a ride: adjust the seat to a comfortable height, squeeze the brakes to make sure there’s resistance, and check the tires to make sure they’re not flat. If there’s a problem with the bike, just dock it and hit the red “wrench” button, then choose a different bike.
Wear a helmet
Helmets are required for cyclists under the age of 18 per Columbus City Code 2173.04. We do recommend that all riders wear helmets, and you are encouraged to bring your own. Make sure yours fits snugly, wear it level on your head, and always buckle the chin strap.
Obey traffic signals
The same laws apply to bicycles as to motor vehicles in the Columbus area – including obeying all traffic lights and signs.
Ride with traffic
Bicyclists are required by law to ride in the same direction as cars. If there is no usable bike lane, ride as far to the right as possible, while staying at least 3-4 feet from the curb or parked cars.
Stay off sidewalks
Bicyclists should ride in a bike path or on the right side of the road, leaving the sidewalk for pedestrian traffic only. Please walk your bike on the sidewalk.
Yield to pedestrians
Like drivers, bicyclists must yield the right of way to pedestrians when the law requires it, such as at crosswalks and intersections. If you have the light, use your bell to alert pedestrians of your presence when necessary.
Use hand signals
Bicyclists should use hand signals to let drivers and other cyclists know where they’re going. Stick your left arm straight out to indicate a left turn. For a right turn, extend your right arm straight out, or raise your left arm and bend it upward at the elbow. To stop, hold your left hand by your side pointing toward the ground.
Never ride distracted
Pull over if you have to send a text message or talk on the phone. Always keep at least one hand on the handlebars. Being aware and riding predictably reduces the chance of a crash.