Bicycle Safety

Bicycle Safety Header

Walking, rolling, and bicycling is a great way to get around town, to school and work. It helps reduce traffic congestion and is healthier for the environment. Walking or bicycling can be cheaper than having a vehicle and provides a great way to get physical activity.  

However, because walking, rolling, and bicycling can be dangerous, Butte County Public Health Injury Prevention provides education and resources about pedestrian and bicycle safety for children and adults. Education includes information about the rules of the road, how to dress and equipment that you can use to be more visible to drivers and other pedestrians or bicyclists. Information for vehicle drivers about their responsibilities driving around pedestrians and bicycles is also available. The Injury Prevention Team collaborates with different schools and organizations to provide education. These lessons and activities provide an opportunity for participants to get hands-on practice, learning skills on how to be safe pedestrians and bicyclists in their community.

Helmet Safety

All bike riders should wear bicycle helmets. Each year in the United States, about 800 bicyclists are killed and another 500,000 end up in hospital emergency rooms. About 2/3 of the deaths and 1/3 of the injuries involve the head and face. Wearing a helmet can reduce the risk of head injury to bicyclists by as much as 85%.

  • It's always a great idea to wear a helmet when riding a bike, even if you're over 18 years old. Everyone in California under the age of 18 must wear a helmet when riding a bicycle.
  • If the helmet is cracked, broken, no longer fits, or is not within the CPSC standards, it should be replaced with one that is in great condition and meets the CPSC safety standards. (The "ASTM," "ANSI," and "Snell" labels also meet the CPSC standards).

To make sure your helmet fits properly, follow the 2V1 method:

  • Your helmet should sit 2 fingers above your brow ridge.
  • Be sure your straps are straight and that they make a V around your ears.
  • The helmet must be clipped in and fit snug on your chin, allowing only room for 1 finger to slide under the straps

2V1 Helmet Fit

Bike Safety

A bike that fits well and is right for your height, flexibility and riding style is a bike you'll love riding. A bike that fits poorly can lead to inefficient riding, muscle aches and pains, and general discomfort that might discourage you from riding as long or as far as you want.

Know Your Bike Components

Understanding the components of your bike and what their function is, will keep you in tune with the health of your bike. If you do not feel confident in diagnosing the problem, take your bike to a bike mechanic for further inspection.


Air - Check your bike tires before riding and make sure they are filled with enough air

Brakes - Always test out your brakes before riding to make sure they are working properly

Chain - A rusty chain is a bad chain, be sure your chain is on correctly and has been lubricated. This is also a great time to run through your gears to make sure they shift properly.

Register Your Bike

The primary reason to register a bike is that you can prove it's yours in the event that it's stolen. Theoretically, police can match up rightful owners with recovered bikes in the course of solving and fighting crime. Bicycles can be registered with your local police department and university.

Use a Light

When riding early in the morning or at night, it's always smart to use a light! A white light visible from the front must be attached to the bicycle or the bicyclist.


At night bicycles must have the following reflectors:

  • Visible from the back: red reflector. You may attach a solid or flashing red rear light in addition to the reflector.
  • Visible from the front and back: white or yellow reflector on each pedal or on the bicyclist's shoes or ankles
  • Visible from the side:
    1. A white or yellow reflector on the front half of the bicycle
    2. A red or white reflector on each side of the back half of the bike. These reflectors are not required if the bike has reflectorized front and back tires. CVC 21201(d)

Bicycling Rules of the Road

  • Children should always ride with an adult
  • Use bicycle lanes
  • Act like a vehicle
  • Ride with traffic
  • Don't be a distracted rider
  • Use your hand signals
  • Be visible
  • Be predictable
  • Be safe