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Biking 101: Traffic Rules and Etiquette for New Bikers

Take note of these pointers next time you hit the road!

When the national government declared a Luzon-wide lockdown last year, one of the main woes of the public was the lack of public transportation. This led to a massive surge in bike sales as people opted to ride their bicycles to commute to and from their workplaces.

Now, as the country eases its lockdown restrictions, biking has evolved into a form of exercise and a mode of transportation for recreation. Some have started using their bikes to go to the countryside for that much-needed fresh air, while others have made it their trusted companion in shaking off the isolation that the pandemic has brought upon everyone. (Read: The Types of Bike That Fit Your Need, as Explained by a Cyclist)

But with the increasing number of riders on roads, it’s become even more important for everyone— bikers and drivers alike— to embrace the rules of the road and observe road safety. Here are four guidelines that will help you become a responsible biker for a smooth and hassle-free ride.

Biking Etiquette: Always Be Visible

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Photo from invol.co

If you are commuting and you know you’re going home late, it’s best to invest in lights for your bicycle. This is to ensure that other road users can see you. Do not ride at night without lights because that will not only endanger yourself but other drivers and bikers as well. Use red light for the back and white light for the front.

Biking Etiquette: Ride Predictably

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People ride their bicycles along a newly-installed bike lane in Manila. \(Photo from Xinhua / South China Morning Post)

Wherever you are, you should always ride predictably: No sudden movements or unexpected turns! Swerving lanes or turning suddenly can unnerve other cyclists and drivers. Use hand signals to let people around you know your intentions before you do it— use left or right arms out straight to the side to indicate left or right turns respectively. You should also stick to bike paths if you are an unsteady biker. (Read: This Grab driver offers free rides to commuters)

Biking Etiquette: Don’t Go All the Way to the Front During a Stop

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Cyclists navigating traffic in Makati City, outside the Philippine capital. (Photo from Kimberly dela Cruz / The New York Times)

When stopping at a light or stop sign, you should stop behind the cars and other cyclists in front of you. It’s a common sight to see that motorcycle riders and cyclists make their way to the front. But it pays to be patient— you can pass once everyone gets moving again. Again, it all comes down to your safety. If you need to stop suddenly, pull over. Stopping abruptly can cause other cyclists or cars behind you to swerve or run you over. (Read: Dunkin’ Philippines Opens First-Ever Store With Bikers’ Lane)

Biking Etiquette: Wear Your Safety Gear

how-to-be-a-responsible-biker
San Juan Mayor Francis Zamora rides a bike along Pinaglabanan Street on “World Bicycle Day” on June 3, 2020. (Photo from Boy Santos / The Philippine STAR / OneNews.PH)

A helmet is a must. In addition, you should invest in protective tools such as knee pads and lights. Also, remember to leave your hands free when riding. Put a basket or a cellphone holder for your things— no texting and avoid taking phone calls while on the road! If it is absolutely necessary for you to take a call, pull over.

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