Rider Safety

Our first priority is your safety. In addition to Ride for AIDS Chicago policies and local, state and federal laws, other points regarding your safety and riding habits appear below. Memorize them. Use them. Embracing them as they might save your life!

  • State law decrees that a bicycle is a vehicle with the same privileges and restrictions as any other vehicle. Embracing these rules might save your life one day.
  • Always wear an approved helmet.
  • Use of cell phones or IPods and other music listening devices is strictly prohibited while riding.
  • Know and obey all traffic signals, signs, route markings, laws, and regulations. Stop at all stop signs. Signal all turns. Cross only at intersections.
  • Always ride predictably and in control. Ride in a straight line, and consciously try to avoid excessive weaving back and forth. In most vehicle-bicycle accidents, motorists say they never saw the bicyclists, or didn't see them in time to avoid the collision.
  • Always use hand signals to indicate that you are going to make a right or left turn or are about to stop; motorists and cyclists need to know what you intend to do. If your hands aren't free as you slow or stop, call out "SLOWING" or "STOPPING." When stopping, pull to the right edge of the road. Move completely off the road to rest or make repairs.
  • Cycle with traffic, never against it. When moving from one lane to another always yield to traffic.
  • Keep to the right of the road at all times and leave other riders plenty of room to pass on your left. If you don't, you could force another cyclist into oncoming traffic, creating a serious accident. The exception to this rule occurs when preparing for a left turn or avoiding unsafe road conditions (potholes, construction, etc.).
  • Call out, "ON YOUR LEFT!" when passing at all times. Also, don't stop or slow down without letting other cyclists and drivers know your intentions in advance.
  • Always stop and look left, right, then left again before entering the road.
  • Always make left turns from the appropriate left-turn lane.
  • Ride single file when cycling with a group. Do not ride side by side. Passing cyclists will be forced into traffic, creating a serious hazard. Remember we need to share the road with cars!
  • Be alert to hazards such as glass, sand, loose gravel, pot holes, open cracks, dogs, etc. It's not only courteous, but essential that you keep an eye out for these and point them out to cyclists behind you.
  • Always be on the lookout for a person in the driver's seat of any parked car you may pass. Parked drivers are notorious for swinging their doors open suddenly or pulling out into traffic without checking for bicyclists.
  • Drafting, which can cause pile-ups, is not permitted on the Ride for AIDS Chicago or training rides.
  • Always cross railroad tracks at a right angle.
  • Make certain your bike fits you properly and is in good working order. If you're not sure, have your local bike shop check it.
  • Wear bright clothing while riding, even during the day.
  • Use extra caution when riding in the rain. Roads become slick as thin sheets of oil, gas and grease form on the surface. Allow for increased breaking distance. Also, road paint and fallen leaves become extra slippery during rains. Slow down, especially when going down hills. Vision and visibility drop drastically when skies are dark and sodden. Cars won't be able to see you as well. Be awake and aware.
  • In certain types of bad weather, such as tornados or lightening, the Ride route will be CLOSED until the threatening weather passes. Crew members will notify you when the route is re-opened.
  • Be especially vigilant when cycling downhill. It's not the time to take a hand off your handlebars to grab a drink or fiddle with your bike. Increased speeds mean you'll need increased stability and watchfulness for hazards on the road.
  • Pay attention to all route marking signs. The route will be clearly marked but each rider must pay attention. It is easy to miss a sign and not realize it until you are five miles off course.