If transportation is provided with your GEC placement, please see your Program Information Guide for costs and mode of transportation.
There are many forms of transportation in the U.S. with passenger vehicles being the primary mode of transportation. In cities, public transportation such as city buses and taxis are readily available but can be expensive. In smaller cities in the U.S., public transportation is not readily available. Transportation options should be discussed prior to your departure to the U.S.
Each year, more than 500,000 people in the U.S. are treated in emergency hospitals for bike related injuries. We want to prevent the same happening to you.
Here are some tips that will help to keep you safe:
- Obey traffic signs and signals – Bicycles must follow the rules of the road like other vehicles.
- Never ride against traffic – Motorists aren’t looking for bicyclists riding on the wrong side of the road. State laws require that bicyclists drive like other vehicles.
- Follow lane markings – Don’t turn left from the right lane. Don’t go straight in a lane marked “right-turn only.”
- Don’t pass on the right – Motorists may not look for or see a bicycle passing on the right.
- Scan the road behind you – Learn to look back over your shoulder without losing your balance or swerving. Some riders use rear-view mirrors.
- Keep both hands ready to brake – You may not stop in time if you brake one-handed.
- Allow extra distance for stopping in the rain since breaks are less efficient when wet.
- Wear a helmet and never ride with headphones – Always wear a helmet. Never wear headphones while riding a bike. 8. Dress for the weather – Dress in layers so you can adjust to temperature changes. Wear bright colored clothing.
- Ride in the middle of the lane in slower traffic – Get in the middle of the lane at busy intersections and whenever you are moving at the same speed as traffic.
- Choose the best way to turn left – There are two choices: (1) Like an automobile: signal to move into the left turn lane and then turn left. (2) Like a pedestrian: ride straight to the far side crosswalk. Walk your bike across.
- Make eye contact with drivers – Assume that other drivers don’t see you which might pose a threat to your safety. Making eye contact is important with any driver.
- Look out for road hazards – Watch out for parallel-slat sewer grates, gravel, ice, sand or debris. Cross railroad tracks at right angles.
- Use lights at night – The law requires a white headlight (visible from at least 500 feet ahead) and a rear reflector or taillight (visible up to 300 feet from behind).
- Keep your bike in good repair – Adjust your bike to fit you and keep it working properly. Check brakes and tires regularly. Routine maintenance is simple, and you can learn to do it yourself.
- Use hand signals – Hand signals tell motorists and pedestrians what you intend to do. Use signals as a matter of law, of courtesy, and of self-protection.
If you choose to drive a car in the U.S., remember these safe driving tips:
- Don’t drive drunk – Alcohol causes a number of impairments that lead to car accidents. It’s easy to avoid driving drunk. If you’ve been drinking, ask a sober friend for a ride or call a cab.
- Don’t speed – Take your time and obey posted speed limits. Driving even 10 mph (16.1 kph) faster increases your crash risk by as much as 50 percent.
- Avoid distractions – Keep your eyes on the road. Distractions that can divert your attention in potentially deadly ways includes: cell phones, eating, applying makeup, and interacting with passengers.
- Don’t drive drowsy – If you’re driving and feel the least bit sleepy, take action immediately. Have a friend take over driving or take a break until you are feeling more alert.
- Wear your seat belt – In an overwhelming majority of car crashes, you have a great chance of surviving if you’re wearing a seat belt. In some states, it is the law for you to wear your seat belt.
- Be extra careful in bad weather – If you’re driving through fog, heavy rain, a snow storm or on icy roads, drive below the speed limit, maintain extra space between you and the car ahead and be especially careful around curves.
- Don’t follow too closely – Keep a safe distance between you and the car ahead. Drivers need enough time to react if the car ahead makes a sudden turn or stop.
- Watch out for the other driver – Be prepared for unpredictable lane changes, sudden stops, un-signaled turns, swerving, tailgating, and other bad driving behaviors. Check your mirrors and keep an eye on side streets so you’ll know which cars are around you and how they’re driving.
- Practice defensive driving – Defensive driving incorporates all safe driving tips, but also includes remaining calm in frustrating traffic issues. Do not intentionally aggravate other drivers, initiate conflict, use rude gestures or language, tailgate, or flash your headlights out of frustration.
- Keep your vehicle safe – Vehicle maintenance is a major safety issue. Maintain proper tire pressure, have your brakes checked, and address any maintenance issues with a car mechanic.
At no time is it acceptable to accept a ride from a stranger!