To ensure that this experience continues to be amazing you will need to be vigilante and deliberately conscious of your surroundings and some of the perils that come with riding a bicycle. Safety starts with each us taking responsibility not only for ourselves but for our fellow cyclists. 

Smart cycling is about you and your fellow participants' safety. We will be riding through every kind of terrain and weather condition Minnesota has to offer and with hundreds of other cyclists.

Rules of the Road 

  • Bicycles are vehicles under the Minnesota Vehicle Code.  Obey all traffic laws, traffic signals and signs.  Ride as far to the right as is safely possible. Ride defensively, predictably and stay alert.  Assume car drivers cannot see you.
  • Stop at all stop signs and stoplights without exception.  When you are on a Red Ribbon Ride training ride and on the event, you must make a complete stop, ceasing all forward motion and placing one foot on the ground before proceeding.
  • Wear your helmet at all times when on your bicycle. This includes while riding in camp and in pit stops. 
  • Ride single file and leave at least one bike length between you and the rider in front of you. No drafting. No pacelines. 
  • Communicate your intentions.  Use verbal alerts to point out potential vehicle hazards.  Use hand signals to indicate right turn, left turn, stopping or slowing.  Alert others to potential hazards by pointing and/or calling out in a loud, outside voice.  
  • Look behind you before passing to make sure it is clear.  Pass when it is safe to do so and pass only on the left.  When passing, call out loudly, “On your left!”
  • Never wear headphones or ear buds while on your bike. The use of cell phones, iPods, mp3 players, radios, walkie talkies, hand held cameras or video cameras, or any other electronic device is prohibited while riding. Speakers of any kind are also prohibited. 
  • Control your bicycle:  Ride predictably and keep at least one hand on the handlebars at all times
  • Red Ribbon Ride is an alcohol- and drug-free event.  Do not consume alcohol or use recreational drugs on training rides or on the event. 
  • Eat before you feel hungry and drink before you feel thirsty. 
  • Emergency Procedures: If an accident occurs requiring emergency medical services, call 911 immediately and direct traffic around the scene. Get the Riders name and wait for emergency personnel to arrive. Do not move an injured person if they are unable to move themselves. Notify your Training Ride Leader or a Red Ribbon Ride staff member. 
  • Be courteous and respectful of others.  Be patient and kind. Not everyone has the same skills as you when it comes to riding a bike. 


SMART Cycling



The 3 hand signals above are required by law. WE go the extra mile in safety signals by using our hands and vocal chords to do the following:

  • Point out road obstacles i.e. rocks, gravel, broken glass, drainage grates, and pot holes. 
  • Using your right arm to point, and then call out, car right when you see an automobile exiting from a driveway or intersection.
  • Always use your arms as pointers and your voice to draw attention to any impending obstacles.

The following Call Out signals are mandatory for all cyclists. Never think that someone else is loud enough for the cyclist in front of you to hear them, always add your voice and "pay it forward or backward" -- depending on the situation at hand. For example, when coming to a stop with 20 fellow cyclists, ALL 20 cyclists should be calling out, Stopping! This keeps everyone alert and being alert is "smart cycling".

  • "Car back" -- used when you hear a car approaching from your rear. When you hear a fellow cyclist saying "Car back" you must also say it so the cyclist in front of you can hear it, and on up the line.
  • "Car up" -- used when riding on a narrow roadway and you have a car approaching you.
  • "On Your Left" -- used EVERY TIME you pass another cyclist. Always check behind you before passing and call out your intention BEFORE you are alongside the cyclist you are overtaking. NEVER pass another cyclist when a car is approaching from behind you. If you are being passed by another cyclist please move as far right as is SAFELY possible. You must pass in single file, never in tandem or more -- this is very unsafe as you will be crowding into the oncoming traffic lane.
  • "Door" -- used when riding along parked cars. Watch all cars that are parked and if you see someone in the driver's seat call out "Door" to signal to the cyclists behind you that a car door could open at anytime.
  • "Tracks" -- used when approaching railroad tracks. Always cross railroad tracks at a 90-degree angle to avoid getting your tires trapped in the tracks.
  • "Slowing" -- used when slowing to make a stop or beginning to pull off the road to stop.
  • "Stopping" -- used after you call out slowing and are ready to come to a full stop. If you are stopping to rest or stretch or even, god forbid, change a flat, it is crucial that you pull completely off the bicycle lane of traffic.
  • "Rolling" -- used after you have made a complete stop and are ready to start riding again.
  • "Right Turn" -- used when making a right turn in conjunction with the appropriate arm turn signal.
  • "Left Turn" -- used when making a left turn in conjunction with the appropriate arm turn signal.
  • "Merging" -- used when you have been stopped and are getting ready to rejoin the bike lane of traffic.

SMART cycling also includes the following: 

  • Stay alert at all times.  Be aware of your surroundings at all times. 
  • Cycle with traffic, never against it.  When moving from one lane to another, always yield to traffic.

  • Always make left turns from the appropriate left-turn lane.

  • 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.
  • 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 conduct a bike fitting for you.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Wear sunglasses whenever possible.  Not only do they keep the sun from distracting you, but the also keep wind and bugs from interfering with your ability to keep your eyes on the road.