Helpful Guidelines for Beginner Bicyclists

Bicycling, as with many other modes of transportation, can be inherently dangerous. By following these safety tips (, however, bicyclists can avoid hazardous situations and ride in the safest manner possible.

Helmet Guidelines

  1. Always wear a helmet while biking and make sure to replace it if it is cracked or broken.
  2. It is best to purchase a new helmet to ensure that it will function properly.
  3. Ensure that your helmet fits comfortably. Taking time to properly configure your helmet could save your life.
    1. Your helmet should fit on the top of your head, not tipped back. One standard measure is to make sure your helmet sits roughly two fingers above your brow.
    2. The straps should fit snugly under the jawbone. While a helmet strap should not be so tight as to restrict breathing, you should not be able to fit more than one finger between the strap and your skin.
  4. If you are involved in a bike crash, always replace your helmet even if it is not visibly cracked or broken.

For more information, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) provides this resource: (

This video, also a production of NHTSA, provides helpful guidelines for fitting bicycle helmets (

Trip Planning

  1. Planning your route in advance is a good idea. To select the best route, talk with other bike riders who know the roads well, or consider walking or driving the route first so you can observe how the facilities accommodate bicyclists.
  2. Bicycle maps are available in many communities. Check with any of the following organizations for more information.
    1. Parks and Recreation Department
    2. Town Council or Visitor Center
    3. Town Chamber of Commerce
    4. Local Trail/Bike Shops
    5. Community Centers

The Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center provides two helpful resources, a database of bicycle maps ( and some information about bike mentors (, which can assist you in planning your route.