Commuting by bike is a great way to start your day as it wakes you up, allows you to exercise while getting to work, offers an endless supply of fresh air and can even be quicker than driving alone.

Equipment to Get You Started

1. Helmet

In King County, helmets are required by law. Bicyclists throughout the county can be cited  for not wearing helmets. Avoid fines and injuries by wearing a helmet!

When fitting a helmet:

  1. It should be level over your head
  2. Straps should converge under your earlobes.
  3. There should still be some room between the bottom strap and your chin so you can turn your head.
  4. There should also be about two fingers-length distance between your eyebrows and the helmet.

Once fitted, shake your head and see if the helmet moves-it should remain stationary.

2. Front and rear lights 

Lights are very important to stay seen by other motorists and cyclists! 

Washington State law (RCW 46.61.780) requires a front white light and a rear red reflector at least.  Go Redmond often has safety lights available as give-a-ways at our tabling events, or you can request one.

Reflectors can be placed under the seat and in the spokes of the wheels to increase visibility. If you need to ride in a dark area, consider a more powerful light that will light up the trail but not blind others riders.

3. Bright or Reflective (& Comfortable!) Clothing 

Wear something you can move in (spandex not required)!

Wearing light and bright clothing increases your visibility, and many sports outerwear will have reflective elements. If you need to pack your work clothes, rolling clothes into a backpack helps minimize wrinkles.  

Or take a cue from our European friends and just get pedalling in whatever you were planning on wearing that day to work!

4. Locks

While not essential to get started, having the right lock is a good investment. U-locks, cable locks and chains are the most common locks. U-locks are better suited for locking your frame and potentially a wheel. Cable locks are better suited for securing the second wheel, or simply additional protection. 

Planning Your Route

Check out the Redmond bike map for local bike facilities-like roads with bike lanes, or off road trails. Google Maps is also an incredibly useful and reliable tool to determine the safest and quickest route-their bike routes even include elevation changes! 

Consider giving yourself extra time if you are trying out a route for the first time, as you may take false turns, hills may slow you down, or you might go slower to observe your surroundings.

Another great option is to ask the other people who bike in at work.  They are a great source of local knowledge and insights into biking.

Rules of the Road

While riding in traffic, cyclists should take precautions to avoid any confusion or worse, collisions.​

  • Ride with traffic, not against it.
  • Obey traffic laws. Bicyclists are not excused from lights, signs and speed limitations. 
  • When you ride a bike, you are "driving" a vehicle.  You may use the full lane (ride in the middle or left part of the lane) to help you see and be seen, communicate your intentions, avoid the "door zone" and other road hazards, and discourage motorists from passing you too closely.
  • No matter your speed, you have a right to the road, just like any other vehicle.  When going slower than traffic on a 2-lane road, ride far enough to the left (7 feet from the center line) to discourage cars from trying to squeeze past you in the same lane.  If several cars back up behind you, you can pull over when the road widens, or pull off if safe to do so.  Giving drivers a "come on through" wave helps communicate that you want them to pass.  Giving drivers a friendly "thank you" wave rewards drivers for their cooperation.  On multi-lane roads, ride in the middle or in the left "tire track."  Cars will see you early and choose a different lane to pass you.   
  • When approaching a red light, please do not maneuver between vehicles and pass them to the front of the line. Turning vehicles may not see you quickly passing them by and turn without noticing you, causing a collision.
  • When passing vehicles, pedestrians and other cyclists, please give at least 3 ft space. 
  • When passing pedestrians and cyclists, slow down, and call out which side you're passing them on and ring a bell if you have one.
  • When riding on streets, choose a lane and position inside that lane for your destination.  Left turns need to be made from the left turn lane, straight-ahead movements from the through-lane, and right turns from the right turn lane.  On roads without turn lanes, choose a lane position that communicates where you're going (a left "tire track" position tells drivers you're turning left). You may use the full lane.  Before making lane changes or changes within a lane, scan behind you to make sure it's clear, signal your change with your hand, and scan again to verify that it's OK to change lanes or lane position.  Use your hand signal again prior to and as you're making your turn.  
  • Bicyclists are highly encouraged to used pre-existing bicycling infrastructure such as bike lanes and sharrows while riding in traffic.
  • You may ride on the sidewalk. On the sidewalk, ride with extreme caution. There are many driveways and pedestrians that create an unsafe environment for fast riding.  When crossing a driveway or intersection, slow way down, scan all around you for drivers entering and leaving, and be prepared to stopRide slow and have your hands on the brakes. Always yield to pedestrians, and enter a crosswalk very slowly or by walking your bike. 
  • If there is on-street parking, keep an eye out for opening doors! Ride at least 5 ft away from parked vehicles to avoid getting hit or startled by an opening door.  This may place you in the middle of a lane.  That is OK.