10 Annoying Things Cyclists Should Stop Doing

by Marc Lindsay
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10 Annoying Things Cyclists Should Stop Doing

While the act of riding a bicycle is fairly simple, the rules of the road can sometimes be a bit more confusing.

In order to clarify some of that gray area, we’ve created a short guide so you can put the etiquette into practice.

To be clear, these are 10 things cyclists should never, ever do:


You’ve seen these people before. They sneer at other cyclists, yell at motorists and think pedestrians should cease to exist. Whether you’re a road cyclist or a mountain biker, the only way to encourage others to take up the sport is to make them feel welcomed and encouraged. Acting like the road is your own personal raceway and everyone else is an obstacle just gives all cyclists a bad name.

The next time you’re out on the road and see a fellow cyclist, wave and say hello. Taking your eyes off your data, believe it or not, isn’t going to result in the end of the world.


So you’re cruising along, minding your own business on the way home from work, when suddenly a shadow approaches from the rear. You move to the right, then to the left and the shadow follows. When you turn to look over your shoulder, there sits the wheel sucker in your draft — head down, eyes forward, with a serious-looking grimace. No introduction, no “how are you.”

Don’t be that guy. Riding up behind another cyclist without introducing yourself or taking your turn at the front is just weird.


Yes, there will be times when you’re sitting at a red light all by yourself without a car in sight. There will also be moments when you’re about to break a course record, and all of a sudden a stop sign appears out of nowhere. Regardless of what you’d like to do, you should not ride through that red light or stop sign.

Disobeying traffic laws isn’t just dangerous; it gives motorists the fuel they need to act abusively and irrationally toward other cyclists on the road.


There are some cyclists who think they are safer riding on the sidewalk. Regardless of which end of this argument you may agree with, riding a bicycle on the sidewalk is illegal in most states. Sidewalks are intended for pedestrian use, and if you don’t want them walking in bike lanes, it’s best to return the favor and stay off their sidewalks.



Do helmets look cool? No, not really. But you know what’s way less cool than a helmet? That’s right, a head injury. No matter how short or long you plan to go, you should always wear a helmet. It could make the difference between a simple spill and an overnight stay at the hospital.


If you think a bolt can never be too tight, this advice is for you. All carbon parts on your bicycle have torque specifications that you must adhere to. If you tighten past these recommendations, you’ll likely cause damage that can’t be repaired — whether it be a handlebar, seat post or even your bike frame.

The good news is torque wrenches are pretty inexpensive, not much more than your standard set of Allen wrenches.


Getting “chicked” can make some men go mad. But really, whatever it is that causes you to go bonkers when you’re passed by another cyclist, take it easy, stallion. Not every ride is a race, even if you are a racer at heart. Stick to the training plan, and let other cyclists on the road do their own thing. That Gran Fondo or century ride isn’t too far away.


I know. I really like those old ninja movies, too. But riding at night without bike lights isn’t the time to mimic your heroes. And in most states, riding with lights is a legal requirement between sunset and sunrise.


Even if you usually ride in a group, there will come a day when you jump on the bike and everything goes wrong. A flat tire, a loose screw on your handlebar and a broken chain are just a few of the things that you’ll need to be prepared for and know how to fix.

Instead of always relying on others, check out this video (and maybe this one, too) to learn how to do basic repairs yourself.


Cycling-specific clothing is expensive. But one item you definitely don’t want to skimp on is your cycling shorts. A good chamois is worth its weight in gold, especially if you plan to spend more than an hour on the bike.

Instead of getting multiple pairs of cheaper options, buy one or two pairs of quality cycling shorts. Chances are they’ll last a lot longer than all your cheaper pairs combined, and they will be much more comfortable on those sensitive spots when you do decide to go long.


  • John Stevenson

    Fuck off with your ‘wear a helmet’ bullshit. The fucking things don’t work.

    • Thom Cate

      Funny, mine worked for me. On a hot ride, got a slow leak. Low pressure front tire rolled off the rim on a hard left turn. The left side of my head hit the pavement, hard. Twice. (But I only remember the first one). If I hadn’t been wearing a helmet, I might not be writing this right now.

      And wow, such passion for being helmetless.

      • Scott Hill

        I, on the other hand, commuted to work for 17 years without a helmet. Run off the road twice, laid the bike down on wet pavement several times, bumped by several taxis, taco’d the front wheel on a pothole. Never needed a helmet. All they do is obstruct hearing and get your head sweaty. I have a study which I printed and kept that shows the net result of helmet laws is to reduce bicycle ridership, and that’s where all the reductions in injuries comes from. I’m with you, John, helmets are bullshit.

      • Jacqui

        Considering half the population is female, perhaps effort could be made to be more inclusive? Or perhaps the “annoying population” is a 100% male?

        • Mike


    • Robert Baldwin

      Really? It is the reason I’m alive. Period.

    • Russell Brown

      It’s called “voluntary removal from the gene pool”. If he doesn’t want to wear a helmet, sooner or later he will….

      • epickett

        Either that, or he’ll end up on permanent life support with us footing the bill…

        • Russell Brown

          Not if The Donald has anything to tweet about it!

      • Larry Shaw

        Actually, the primary cause of serious head trauma is car accidents, by far. Do you guys wear helmets while driving a car? If not, you should not look down on those of us who do not wear bike helmets. If so, feel free to continue.

    • Malark_E

      A helmet may protect a cyclist from serious head/brain injury or death. An impact to the head need not be extremely hard or powerful to to result in injury. Simply falling over while stationary & the head striking a hard surface could result in brain injury. However, a powerful impact due to speed, a long fall or being struck by a motor vehicle may be more force than the helmet can absorb. A helmet may also protect a rider’s head from less serious injuries (bumps, abrasions, cuts, etc.).

    • Robert Smith

      Oh yes they do. I was hit by a taxi driver one cold wet Friday night (I had three sets of road legal lights, high visibility jacket and trousers) and if I had not been wearing a helmet I would have been killed as I landed on the road on my head.

  • Scott Hill

    11. Tell others how to enjoy cycling. Like not “racing” to a destination, when enjoying speed is part of the fun. Or pretending that helmets do much other than discourage people from cycling in the first place. Or telling people they need to have a bunch of proper tools or wear the proper shorts or other clothing. All of this is in direct opposition to the author’s first command of not being elitist.

    • Thom Cate

      I don’t understand some of these myself; but there is some strong advice here, which is not negated by the couple of contradictory items.

  • Chris M

    I especially agree with the first item. I was very proud of my $800 Trek road bike, which had served me well for a number of triathlons and a century ride. When I mentioned my purchase to a biker colleague of mind, his comment..”you can’t get a decent bike for less than $3000″.

    • Mark Robinson

      I have a 2007 Schwinn Peloton Pro, which happens to be their last real road bike, and other riders would roll their eyes at me. Even when they realize they are out gunned when they get a close look at my bike as I pass them they still snicker at me.

  • Alan Weitzsacker

    There are 2 that I definitely have agreement with:
    #3 – bending the road laws too many times were a main reason to stop riding with one of the local bike clubs. I stay in line with traffic, staying as far to the right in the lane as is practical. This is also how the NYS traffic law reads.
    #4 – helmets are more than worth it. A few years ago I was clipped by a car on a turn; I don’t remember hitting the road, but I was still conscious and able to get off the road quickly. I kept the cracked helmet in case some kids in the neighborhood decided to scoff at the idea. I made sure the replacement helmet was a brighter color.

  • suzy

    not a hard core rider. but since i need new knees and can’t run anymore I want to do some longer distance bike rides…starting at about 20 miles. I’m scared to death to ride in the street with traffic! so I paid for premium so I could get a suggested round trip route from my house. I’m just not sure if there are sidewalks on the route. Is there anywhere you can look to find out if there are sidewalks or not on the roads in the planned route? Thanks!

    • Dave

      Hi Suzy, I was in a similar situation but was lucky enough to have a co-worker who commutes that doesn’t live that far from me. For my first ride I met up with him and it was a huge help. I would recommend going with someone. If that’s not an option ride it on a slow day like a Sunday morning to find a good route or drive home the way you think you’ll ride a few times to figure out a good route.

    • PTEcon

      Try to find a route that has wide 2 lane (one each way) streets with less traffic, that is, not the main traffic arteries. I wouldn’t ride on the sidewalk unless it’s for short bits to avoid a high traffic section – otherwise that is dangerous and the sidewalk is for walker, joggers, strollers, etc. The more you ride, the more confident you’ll become on the road. Use common sense, share the road and be visible, confident and predictable.

  • Tom Wertz

    Let’s connect the dots, for grammar’s sake. 1) It’s annoying when cyclists promote an elitist culture. True. 2) It’s annoying when cyclists wheel sucker strangers. True. 3) It’s annoying when cyclists disobey traffic laws. True, although some traffic laws really need to change. 4) It’s annoying when cyclists ride on the sidewalk. True, and you know what else is annoying? When the only people who are allowed to used the sidewalks don’t. I’m looking at you, joggers and power walkers. WTH? Why can’t you use the sidewalk? 5) It’s annoying when cyclists ride without a helmet. Whoa! Did my mom ask you to insert that one? How is it annoying? It may be a bad idea, but it truly annoys you?!? 6) It’s annoying when cyclists tighten bolts on carbon parts without a torque wrench. Again, certainly a bad idea, but how does that annoy you? Perhaps you need a hobby. 7) It’s annoying when cyclists turn the commute home into a race. True. 8) It’s annoying when cyclists ride at night without bike lights. Hmmm. Not sure which way to go on this one. Sure, it’s illegal. Sure, it freaks me out to see other bikers do it. But annoying? 9) It’s annoying when cyclists be unprepared for a mechanical failure. Well, if you’re the one who has to go pick them up, then yes. If you’re the one with mechanical failure who forgot to bring their tools, yes. Are you also annoyed at all the people who don’t know how to change a tire on a 4-wheel vehicle? 10) It’s annoying when cyclists go cheap on your cycling shorts. Wow. Now you’ve definitely crossed the line into personal opinion. Sure, tell us how worthwhile it is to spend the extra money. But getting annoyed at my spending choices is a little much.
    TL;DR: I agree with 80% of the points in this article, but the premise is annoyance and … well … that annoys me.

    • curiousKulak

      I agree with everything you said – except …

      Riding without lights. While its probably not too annoying for the perp, Its not only annoying – its also downright scary if you happen upon them coming the wrong way down the bike lane/street. Super annoying, once ya get over the fright factor.

      Otherwise, good calls on the article.

      • Harvey

        If you had proper lights it wouldn’t be scary as you’d see them, and they you, way before feeling scared…unless they’ meet you at a turn.

        • Neil Barnett

          So you’re agreeing, then. There are a lot of turns in the World.

      • chicagofan76

        I was coming back to my house in my car down a country road and a guy did not have lights. He is lucky i did not accidentally hit him.

    • Bruce Sculthorpe

      Tom, thanks for the laugh. For me, your comment wasn’t TL, and I did read it all. I’m trying to imagine someone riding along, minding his own business, and suddenly becoming annoyed because another cyclist is wearing what he thinks are inferior shorts. I’ve violated a few things on the list over the years. On 3, I’ve gone through red lights (after stopping and waiting) when there was no traffic to set the light off. Nobody was there, so nobody was annoyed. While I haven’t ridden on a sidewalk since I was a kid, I have had motorists scream at me to do just that. You can’t win that one. I rode for many years without a helmet, mostly on roads, but that was back when we weren’t so safety conscious. I wear one now on bicycle or motorcycle, but I also realize that they don’t protect nearly as well as some think. I’ve even ridden without tools, expecting to just be in the neighborhood, only to find myself with a flat about ten miles from home. Yes, *that* was annoying, but only to the guy who had to get the bike home. And that last one? For years I wore “street clothes” for bicycling, including riding century rides in jeans and t-shirt. I sure hope I didn’t hurt anyone’s feelings doing that! CuriousKulak, as a teen I liked to ride in the middle of the night, with no lights on the bicycle. Probably not the smartest thing I ever did. I can see how that would be annoying if anyone had driven up on me. Fortunately, that never happened.

    • Andor

      To be fair, the premise of the article was “things bikers *shouldn’t* do”, not “things bikers do that annoy me personally”. They should not ride without a helmet; true. I don’t ride with a helmet, but I don’t really go for speed. Should I? Probably. Do I care if it annoys someone? No. Same with the torque wrench…bikers *should* use one. They should also check the air in the tires before heading out, do regular maintenance, and either lock the frame or remove the front tire when leaving the bike outside. But I don’t think any of those items actually “annoy” the author; his point is that bikers should do it…it’s best practices, plain and simple.

      Another point is that, even though a specific action, or lack of action, may not directly be annoying, it can create a negative bike culture that *does* directly affect other bikers, such as the night riding without lights. Some joker runs “ninja mode”, gets hit by a car. Suddenly, lawmakers are grabbing pens to try to overregulate biking, cause that’s what we do in this country.

      So the premise isn’t annoyance so much as “better ideas”, I think.

      • Eastman D

        No helmet Andor ? Oh you are too cool. But don’t worry we’ll try to keep as much secretions suctioned out of your tracheostomy as we can. Right after we turn you to your left side and place a pillow between your legs.

        • Andor

          Sorry, does that annoy you?

    • Neil Barnett

      4. It’s illegal to ride on the pavement. Or sidewalk. It’s the law. If somebody knocks you off your bike, you want the law to come down on them like the proverbial bricks, so if you think the law is not for you, you’re an ass.

  • Gavin Green

    A cycling helmet saved my head in an unexpected collision with another cyclist. The helmet broke in half but absorbed the impact on my head. Any cyclist who advocates not wearing one is mischievous at best but probably already brain-damaged!

    • DarrylD

      Or just someone who doesn’t do the type of riding that would result in such a collision. No one wears helmets in the Netherlands or Denmark, and they have the highest % of bike riders in the world…and lowest % of injury

      • Kevin McGuinness

        Yeah, and the Dutch wear wooden shoes , i don’t think I’ll be following their example. Seriously, it is a matter of norms that are established when people are young. Kids in the US who learn to wear helmets and whose parents wear helmets do not think it is dorky or not cool. Attitudes driven by vanity are established at a young age, Survival of the fittest will prevail. If the Dutch think looking cool (to them) is more important than brain injury let them but I’m already so cool it doesn’t make a difference.

        • DarrylD

          First off…. The Dutch wear wooden shoes about as often as Americans wear tri-corner hats. Secondly, the reason they don’t wear helmets isn’t because of vanity or fashion… it’s because they don’t need them. The reason why they don’t need them is because cycling there is the norm, and you don’t need a helmet to do an everyday normal activity.

          • Kevin McGuinness

            Sorry you did not see my humor. Biking in the netherlands is indeed far different than biking here. almost everyone bikes there and most of their trips are short trips to the store at low speeds within an infrastructure that is a quantum level safer than here. The statistics from the Netherlands strongly support your point for the the Dutch but do not apply for mountain bikers, people taking longer faster road bike rides for exercise and probably not for computers in the US mingling with cars. Since the infrastructure here will not be changing anytime soon I think I will continue to wear my helmet here although if I go to the Netherlands I probably will leave it home.

          • Chris Johnson

            Fully agree, if your style of cycling exposes you to a greater risk of falling off your bike then wearing a helmet would be wise. So if a lesser risk, then you might decide to leave the helmet at home and avoid a wet sweaty bonce.

        • Chris Johnson

          The Dutch don’t wear helmets when they walk to their car, nor when travelling in it. Looking cool is obviously very important to them, because more pedestrians and more motor vehicle users suffer serious head injury than do cyclists.

  • Michael Anderson

    According to the “Office of National Statistics”, “Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents”, “The AA” and the “British Medical Association”; the overwhelming majority of fatalities in motor vehichle accidents is head trauma. Yet, no one is advocating helmet use in motor vehichles. Cycle helmets have their use, but they are not a panacea to cycle safety. People can fall over and hit their heads in all manner of sitations, but there is no clamour to get everyone to wear helmets in all situations.

    The last sentence in the comments by gavin green were, basically, provocative and stupid. He should be ashamed of them.

    • Dana Thompson

      I advocate helmet use while operating motor vehicles.

      • chris johnson

        Why are helmets required (in many places) for motorcyclists? Anyone care to gue$$ the real rea$on? (It has to do with the fact that lots of those yahoos have no insurance and the rest of us have to pay for their med bills)

        • Tony

          Actually because it makes the clueless do-gooders feel good to make them wear them. Ditto cycling helmets.

      • Chris Johnson

        And passengers. After all, as Mike reported, more people suffer head trauma after being involved in a motor vehicle crash than falling off a bicycle.
        More pedestrians as well.

    • Mike

      There is a name for people who ride a bicycle or motorcycle without a helmet. They are called “organ donors”.

      • Chris Johnson

        Same applies to people who walk, run, or use a motor vehicle then.

        • And people who climb on ladders, or get into baths

          • Chris Johnson

            Indeed! ;o)

    • Jan Andersen

      One of the dumber things I have read in a while.

    • kcflyer19

      If I come off my bike at 30 mph and land on my head, then yes….I’m going to most likely get hurt pretty bad, helmet or not. Last year on a ride (where yes, I was going 25-30) I had the last mile on a bike trail. Speeds were low and the trail had washed out. And at a crawl, I hit a piece of asphalt and went over the handlebars. Landing on my head and the back of my hands. Had I not had a helmet – it would have been worse than the $8,000 ER bill that it was.

  • Chrysogaster

    There is a major one missing treat other road users with respect, don’t ride in pairs side by side if you’re holding up motor vehicles.
    Be courteous if a motor vehicle has waited to overtake to give you room thank them.
    I’m a runner and always say hi to cyclists please just acknowledge me and please give me room.
    I’m a cyclist too.

    • Ramathorn

      Spot on man. Those dick nozzles who ride two abreast. Unacceptable.

      • Bruce Sculthorpe

        Two? One of the things that got me to stop riding the Bike MS events was that many riders would ride in groups blocking the entire lane, like four abreast and several deep. Of course, these were the same riders who were oblivious to anything outside their group, and rode too slowly for many others. But yeah, even two abreast is annoying when there’s anyone else trying to use the road or path. They also left out riding intoxicated or distracted. I’ve encountered both, and getting past an idiot who’s swerving all over the place, wearing headphones or plastered out of his mind, is no fun.

        • Ramathorn

          You’re right with the group rides, those are full insanity. I’ve done a few charity rides my day and for the same reasons you mentioned, I will never do them again. I’m just talking about the group of 2 to 4 guys out for a ride together and the idiots are hogging the entire lane of travel. I’m all for share the road but when I’m driving and there’s a bicycle rider about a foot or two to the right of the center line….come on! It’s typical of the world we live in, everybody is in their own little world and it’s all about them.

          • Bruce Sculthorpe

            Absolutely! When I took a motorcycle training course, one of the trainers was *really* anti-bicycle. When pressed, he said it was just too many times he’d come around a curve only to find two or three bicycles side-by-side, taking up most of the lane. I’ve ridden with others and been side-by-side when there was no other traffic, but we’d keep checking our rear views, and certainly wouldn’t do it with limited sight distance. Even when it’s just another bicycle coming up from behind, the rider on the inside would either pull ahead and in or fall back and in (announcing to the outside rider first) to avoid inconveniencing the overtaking rider. ISTM some riders in charity events believe they’re special, and everyone should just put up with their behavior, because they’re riding “for a good cause”.

      • spotthelemon

        “”While it is a common gripe of motorists when they come across a bunch of cyclists taking up the road, but it’s quicker and safer to overtake a group riding two abreast than it is to pass a long line of single file riders.
        “Cyclists will [normally] thin out into single file when it’s safe for cars to pass if it is the most appropriate action”. “While eight riders riding side-by-side may take up 10 metres of road space, the same eight riders in single file will take up 20m, meaning it is more difficult and less safe for a driver to overtake”. – Chris Boardman

        unless of course the reason the driver wants them in single file is so he can overtake by passing dangerously close to them.

    • kcflyer19

      Agreed…in my area where cyclists are fairly common, people routinely give 3 feet or more. But they get madder than hell if you are two (or 3) abreast.

    • Tony

      How about motorists not driving around with a front passenger seat? Or is it only motorists who are allowed to take up extra road width so they can talk to their companion?

  • Tim Whitfield

    Everybody should probably have a choice to wear a helmet or not … but while making your decision you may want to try this little experiment.
    Put a helmet on and walk up to a wall, smash your head into the wall and take note of the pain. Take your helmet off, walk up to the same wall and hit your head into the wall with the same velocity. If you are still conscious, take note of the pain levels. Which was worse? Do helmet HELP? Helmets will not save your life every time, or stop you from becoming (more) brain damaged every time, but I think if you have a quick discussion with a brain surgeon he will assure you they will often reduce the likelihood of brain damage / injury.
    I am a mountain biker and that means falling a few times and I know my head is in a better condition thanks to some good helmets — but the main reason for my pro-helmet stance is a nephew who has been a burden on his family for the past 21 years because he was riding his bike when he fell and hit his head on a pavement. He cannot walk, talk or do anything for himself other than lie and watch TV, something that PROBABLY would not be the case if he had been wearing a helmet.
    Wear a helmet that matches the value of your head — maybe no helmet = a head that has no value?????

    • Chris Johnson

      More motor vehicle users and more pedestrians suffer serious head injury than do cyclists. So you wear a helmet all the time except when in bed?

  • Kevin McGuinness

    All good suggestions except riding through lights and stop signs — it has been been proven with statistical research and common sense that bikers are safer treating lights as stop signs and stop signs as yield signs. Bikers can go faster from a rolling stop, getting out of the intersection sooner and geting out fo the intersection is the safest thing you can do. some bike friendly states and cities have already adopted it as law.

    • kcflyer19

      The problem is that in my town, if a cyclist rolls thru a stop sign, even if there are no other cars in any direction except for the cop behind your or down the road…you WILL get a ticket. My suburb is notirious for this. On one ride a cop turned from a street behind me. The speed limit on the street was 30 and I was riding 25…he didn’t pass. A 4 way stop was coming up, so I came to a complete stop, came off the pedals and stood….then started again. He turned at the sign. I have no doubt had I rolled thru…even slowly…that I would have gotten ticketed.

      • Kevin McGuinness

        I guess common sense always works, if I lived in your town i would stop too or move. That’s why i am in favor of changing the law.

      • The most important rule of the road is “Don’t die”! All other rules are secondary. When i first started biking the streets of San Francisco I used to dutifully come to a compete stop at every stop sign and traffic signal. I quickly realized that doing so often put my life at much greater risk, having near misses and conflicts with vehicles that i could’ve avoided. Ride safe, and take whatever actions are necessary to avoid conflicts with vehicles. While most of the time this means follow the rules of the road, it’s definitely not true all the time. Use your experience and common sense to ride safe by giving yourself a wide safety margin from vehicles, and follow the rules of the road only when it’s safer to do so.

  • DarrylD

    There’s the Mary Poppins effect, where motorists will give you less space if you are wearing a helmet and other “cyclist” gear, versus just regular clothes. A helmet will of course protect you from a head injury once you are in a collision, but a helmet has never once prevented a collision and might even make them more likely.

    • chris johnson

      The Mary Poppins effect is NOT at all what you are describing. Learn what it is before you act like you know what you’re talking about.

      • DarrylD
        • chris johnson

          Yep, this is the article that I was thinking about. The author clearly described her (unscientific) observation about being treated differently because of sex, not because of her biking gear.

          I suppose if it was about biking gear, she would write about The Biking Jersey effect.

          • DarrylD

            It could mean clothes, gear and/or gender.

          • chris johnson

            I see what you’re saying..

            Haven’t experienced it myself…maybe because I tend to strike fear in those around me with my wobbly riding…They probably worry more about their cars getting dinged! 😮

          • DarrylD

            Haha. I guess you made your own kind of Mary Poppins effect in a way

      • DarrylD

        It means a person on a bike getting greater deference when wearing regular clothes rather than a helmet and kit. So…yeah, pretty much exactly how I described it. Maybe consider taking your own advice?

    • chris johnson

      “Helmut might even make them more likely” would only be true if you believe (a) wearing one makes the rider take more risks and/or (b) makes those in cars sharing the road less careful around riders.

      As both a rider and a car driver, I can’t say that I do either of those.

      • DarrylD

        Those are both entirely plausible. I’m a rider and driver as well.

      • Tony

        A helmet also doubles the size of your head, doubling the chance that you will hit it, increases rotational brain injuries (the really damaging ones like Michael Schumacher has) because of the increased head radius and increases the load on the neck because of the increased mass of the head with a helmet on it. So lots of very plausible reasons based on sound science as to why they may make things worse.

    • Chris Johnson

      No cycle helmet is specified, designed, manufactured or tested to protect the wearer from head injury caused by collision. No cycle helmet manufacturer claims such either (or at least none did, maybe a rogue does so now). Cycle helmets are specified, designed, manufactured & tested to protect the wearer from serious head injury in the event of a relatively-slow speed fall from the bicycle causing helmet impact onto hard flat ground (note : no kerb).
      If one’s manner of cycling means that one is more likely than average to fall eg group riding, ice/snow, wet leaves, poor surfacing etc, old & wobbly, young & reckless etc then a helmet is probably a wise precaution. But wearing a helmet just because you’re fearful of being run down is a misguided precaution.

  • Pei Wei Herman

    Guess what: motorists don’t rely on having “fuel” to act abusive or irrationally towards cyclists.

    They’re going to act pretty much the same way until HAL9000 is operating their vehicles, even if they may argue differently.

    So #3, I’ll sit at a red light on my bike just as soon as I can reasonably say “I’m sure the traffic engineers made sure this traffic light sensor can detect a bicycle”.

  • Edzo Boven


  • Tom Macri

    When people stop giving 16 year old kids both cars and cell phones, I’ll get off the sidewalk in heavily trafficked areas. I believe in the right of way but am wise enough to respect “the big of way” when it comes to me vs. 6000 lbs, of steel. I live in a community with paths that interconnect every neighborhood but occasionally, to connect from one exit to another entrance requires a short jaunt on the sidewalk. I yield to pedestrians or ride around them. To be annoyed by this sounds, well, a bit elitist.

  • kcflyer19

    Bike shorts? I have yet to be disappointed by the shorts I buy from Amazon. Guess I’m lucky.

  • Let’s compare •1 with •8 , I don’t intend to promote an Elitist Culture , but whenever someone says “Nice Bike” , I say “The Lights cost more than the Bike is Worth”. They always give me an astonished-look on their face…

  • Chuck Carmone

    I’d add ride with out front and back flashers. I’ve ridden over 75,000 miles and was hit badly this summer. 14 broken bones, a week in the hospital, a really crappy summer and a gorgeous Colnago snapped in half in two places.

  • KnowBs

    Riding on a sidewalk is a way of self preservation; I won’t ride on a road unless I have to. With all of the distracted driving from cell phones, or other activities drivers have become accustomed to do except drive the car they are in, riding on a road makes one a candidate for a Darwin Award. It’s bad enough being in a car dealing with all of the idiots on the road. I know good, bad or indifferent, I won’t win an argument with a two ton piece of steel.
    Besides, there isn’t anyone on the sidewalks in our area, unless it’s early morning and the kids from the local elementary school…….are riding cycles on the sidewalk. Would you let your eight year old ride on the road?
    If I’m not on a designated bike trail, I ride on the sidewalk , and have yet to encounter pedestrians at all.

    • Melissa Bingham

      I couldn’t agree more. Sidewalks are empty 90% of the time, and I always pop out onto the road when I see someone on the sidewalk and then get back on after I pass them. It’s not rocket science. Also, when I’m driving, I prefer cyclists to be on the sidewalk as well.

  • Paul Lee

    I am going to let the silly ones just fly by, but #3 is based on someone who rides in a far more cycling-friendly area. Yes, it’s terrible when cyclists break traffic laws. But honestly, when you live, work, and ride in an area with traffic lights that use sensors instead of timers, you can sit on the left turn lane for 10 minutes waiting for a motor vehicle to trigger (did it once, never again). Additionally, the lack of support for cyclists and harassment by motorists are completely independent of obedience or violation of traffic laws.

    • Paul Kimmings

      i second that also , the traffic lights on the end of our rod are on sensors , if a car doesnt come up behind the lights wont change , leaving you no option than to either dismount and walk round them , or steadily pas through at red .

  • Angela Andrews


    See 2. “Don’t be that ‘guy’ ”
    See 7. “Getting ‘chicked’ can make some men go mad” “…take it easy, ‘stallion’ ”

    • Megan Konz


  • NeilOfGnosall

    I think it’s important to yell at motorists. Cars have horns, we have bells to warn pedestrians and voices to shout at motorists. I would argue it’s dangerous not to point out to motorists their errors.

  • NeilOfGnosall

    In the interests of health and safety Lumberjacks should shout “timber”, Builders should shout “look out below” and cyclists should yell at motorists that are doing something wrong.

  • NeilOfGnosall

    There is a massive problem with pedestrians around the age of 50 and above relying too much on their hearing when crossing the road. They often step out in front of cyclists and sometimes have the nerve to tell the cyclist off. It’s not too much of a problem, because we can normally swerve, break and predict they’re going to do it. However, someone should tell them, because I fear electric cars will run them over in the future.

  • Tony

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/cf7167a1d18bca20b8c1c4f923154b384f051fff46f0d35ddf1881efb998094f.jpg Ten annoying things journalists should stop doing: 1) TELLING CYCLISTS TO WEAR HELMETS.

    Helmets are like lucky rabbits feet. There is no evidence they work and some evidence they make thing worse. There is strong evidence they put people off cycling and the health benefits of cycling outweigh the risks 20 fold. So promoting helmets in an age of an obesity epidemic is a public health own goal.

  • brick2112

    Why am I gettimg this American shite emailed to me?

  • Singletrack

    I think “annoying” is the wrong term to use for several of these points as their relative impact on rider safety vary broadly. On one point, that which concerns traffic rules and the fluid adherence to these by cyclists as perceived by other road users, I’d say the world needs to adopt the “Idaho rules” whereby a stop sign is treated as a yield and a red light as a stop sign for cyclists. If I’m riding within a group of eight cyclists and come to a four way stop – do driver’s really want us to play “one after the other” with all the other cars and bikes on the road? Didn’t think so. They expect all eight of us to move as a group…..but that’s not what the law says. Let’s just say this….the day I can ride 30 kilometres without seeing a driver roll a stop sign or run a red light will be the day I take their irritation at my habits seriously.

  • JohnP

    It’s all been mentioned below but I want to lend some weight to the commentators… HELMETS ON PEDAL CYCLISTS (other than perhaps children and novices) ARE A BAD IDEA. The evidence is already published. There is no need for more research. Advocating cycle helmet wearing must be made a crime.

    • John could you share the research you refer to please? When I google “do helmets on a bike reduce head injury” all but one article on the first page supports helmet use…

  • Andy Smallwood

    I truly had to laugh at “rule” 1. Cycling is an elitist culture unless you’re a touring cyclist. Whether I’m on my road bike or touring bike, it goes without saying that only about 10% of other, mainly road, cyclists acknowledge me with even the slightest of nods.

    I know what they are doing – checking to see if I look fitter than them, and/or checking to see if my bike is better than theirs, and/or checking out my kit to see if it’s “better” than theirs. And bear in mind here, I’m a fellow cyclist.

    It gets worse at a cafe stop. One place where there is no “I didn’t see you” excuse. Still no acknowledgement, just the ritual “checking out” routine. All this will not stop me nodding, giving a wave or having a chat at a cafe stop.

    I refuse to ride in a group because I became sick of my fellow group members being so far up their……. – you get it.

    On the other hand, every single touring cyclist, whether I’m on my road bike or tourer, offers some form of acknowledgement. On a recent road bike ride I came alongside a woman on a tourer, panniers and all. We chatted a while and she mentioned that she wasn’t a real cyclist like me. I pointed out with no hesitation that I wasn’t the real cyclist, she was.

    So for me it’s not a case of, as this article suggests, stopping promoting an elitist culture towards other road users, but a case of starting at home and stop being an elitist culture full stop – even to your own fellow cyclists.

  • Denise Spooner

    Hey Marc. I totally agree with all your suggested. But, can I ask one favor of you, as I have before on the Active.com comments boards: please include women in your writing. #2 above: “Don’t be THAT guy.” Women do it too, as they ride without helmets, aren’t prepared for mechanicals on the road, and so forth. Too many of the Active.com articles are written as though the only readers are male. Please work at correcting that, okay? Many thanks!

  • Former Deputy

    I see #3 all the time. I’ve observed a rider split between stopped vehicles and run a red light just because they don’t think the traffic laws apply to them.

    I have also seen riders ride uphill up to 3 abreast; refusing to give motorists the chance to LEGALLY and SAFELY pass them. In a narrow, 2-lane road with broken lines (versus solid, no passing lines), there is no reason riders should ride side-by-side especially when the vehicles following them can legally AND safely pass them.

  • Jay R.

    I ride “aggressively by design” in NYC almost 2 twice a week, I call it “Urban Assault”. No helmet, no “Bike Shorts” (Proper seat and seat position fixes that nonsense) No Clip-in’s or whatever they are called…No electronics except my choice of music in my bluetooth. My bike is utilitarian at best….bought it brand new in 1987. I used to be a Bike Messenger back before it was cool, and even after for a short time…Fax machine put an end to the volume of messengers. Now it’s just asians and mexicans delivering pizza and Thia on electric garbage, for the most part. It’s my happy place for sure. Having said all that…The “Elitist” cyclist is by far and away the biggest annoyance/danger other cyclists and pedestrians have. Been in dozens of encounters with these “Road Queens” (Sorry road-bikers…95% of the time, it’s you guys with the spandex head to toe, and the $2000 plus bike). But a not too distant second….is Bike Lanes!! Holy shit! I’ll take my chances in traffic any day of the week! In NYC…..literally the most dangerous place to be for a bike. Advice to any and all cyclists that visit the city to ride…Stay outta the bike lanes. Pedal as if you were a car, and your life just got exponentially better. I try to treat pedestrians with the utmost respect..but since J-walking tickets are no longer a thing in Manhattan…It’s tough. And the last thing….The 100,000,000 candle-power BLINKING headlight!! WTF people?!? Why?! It’s inevitable that you’ll be in two-way bike traffic at night at some point wherever you ride….How do you think this is making you safer… by making you “More visible”? In my opinion, a blinking headlight, of ANY sort, should be illegal. Period….No exceptions. I just need to know you’re there…I don’t need a visual marching-band coming straight at me! And I’m in NYC where, for the most part, It’s never night time. The place is lit up like a Christmas Tree 24/7/365! WE SEE YOU MAN! Guy’s like me tend to stay FAR away from Central Park so, most of the a fore mentioned is avoided. In conclusion…Try to be excellent to one another…and don’t assign yourself the title of “Bicycle Police” no matter how or where you ride…..You never know when you’re gonna run into the “Wrong Guy”. (And just so we’re clear…This post is rhetorical. Strictly a PSA. You have zero chance of me responding to any “Facts” you may have on my statements here…found this by accident. Just some words of wisdom from an old dude who still lives and thinks like he’s 35.) (P.S. to the Grammar Police….dont waste you’re time…lol.

  • leslie borean

    This IS an annoyance: Cycling fashion police.

    Concerning lights, best safety practice is to have front and rear flashers ALL the time.

    I believe cyclist under 12 years old should use the sidewalk.

    I am not stopping for all stop signs, that is not the best safety practice.

  • chicagofan76

    While i am more of a leisure rider these days, fat men(like me) should not be in biking shorts. I dont have the physique of Lance Armstron and unless you do you shouldn’t wear them either. i always wear a moisture wicking shirt and White Sox shorts.
    Falling off my bike and suffering a head injury is the least of my concerns. In 25 yrs of riding a bike i have never hit my head. i should wear knee pads, elbow pads and gloves.

  • DugB

    Nothing about riding with headphones while on roads?

  • DugB

    And how many of you arguing against helmet use have ever known someone to be killed by head trauma? Ever known someone who had to have the top of their skull sawed off so the injured brain could swell outside of the cavity? Or been put in an induced coma and your blood temp lowered to 85 degrees to slow the brain swelling? I have…my best friend’s son nearly died from a bike accident-induced head trauma, and spent a month and a half in the ICU, nearly dying several times. I hear the same crap arguments in the motorcycle community about not wearing them…”it clashes with my leather outfit” or “helmets are for sissies”, and also the same pseudo-science arguments like “the helmet is heavy enough to worsen whiplash during an accident, so it could make it worse”, or “Aaron Hernandez wore a helmet and where is he now?”. If you don’t want to wear a helmet, fine, but please don’t fill others with those garbage arguments and potentially cause them to make the wrong decision. They’re sooo light now, sooo comfortable, only a true douche would argue against one.

  • Piste

    You left out the one that says, “Its annoying when two or more cyclists ride abreast, preventing motorists from getting around you.”

    Oh, wait…That’s probably only annoying FOR THE MOTORISTS. My mistake.

    I guess we’ll save that one for a future pro-motorist, pro-First-World article entitled, “Ten Annoying Things Cyclists Used To Do, Before The Rest of the Country Got Fed Up With Their Elitist Bullsh*t and Ran Them The F*ck Over”.