Capital Bikeshare is committed to promoting safe and convenient bicycle access. Capital Bikeshare bikes are designed with many built-in safety mechanisms, including:

  • Front and rear flashing LED lights,
  • Tire reflectors,
  • Reflective bands on both sides of the front and rear tire sidewalls,
  • Adjustable seat height,
  • Step-thru frame for lower center of gravity, and
  • Plastic casing around cables to prevent tampering.

Severe Weather Policy

Safety is extremely important to Capital Bikeshare. In times of severe weather, Capital Bikeshare may temporarily suspend service for all members. If weather conditions endanger user safety, Capital Bikeshare will close temporarily and no bikes will be rented. All bikes already in use at the time of closure can be returned to any Capital Bikeshare station with an open dock.

Closure and re-opening information will be posted to,, and Twitter (@bikeshare). Annual, 30-day, and Day Key members will also be informed of closure and re-opening via email.

Capital Bikeshare may also choose to suspend staff operations while continuing to be available to users. These notifications will be posted on Facebook and Twitter.

Pre-Ride Checks

Capital Bikeshare maintains the bikes to ensure they are in good condition and working properly. However, it's always a good idea to check out your bike before starting a ride. Below are a few simple things to check for a safe ride. If the bike isn't working properly, put it back in the dock and notify us by pushing the wrench button on the bike dock.

  • Air
    Push each tire hard against a curb. If you can flatten it, it needs air.
  • Wheel Spin
    Lift each wheel up and give it a slow spin (spin the back wheel forward so the pedals don't move). Check that the wheel spins freely and doesn't rub against the brake pads or anything else.
  • Tires
    Turn each wheel slowly and look for cuts, bulges, or bubbles.
  • Shifting
    Try all of your gears to make sure the chain shifts smoothly between gears.
  • Brakes
    Check that both brakes are functional.
  • Loose Parts
    Pick up the bike and shake it. You shouldn't hear anything rattling.

Safety Tips

There's more to safety than having a safe bike. Creating safe customers is equally as important. Read more to learn how to become a safe cyclist.

  • Obey all regulatory signs
    and traffic lights.
  • Never ride against traffic
    Ride with traffic to avoid potential incidents.
  • Use hand signals
    to tell motorists what you intend to do.
  • Ride in a straight line
    to the right of traffic and about a car door width away from parked cars.
  • Always wear a helmet
    Helmets dramatically reduce the risk of head injury in a bicycle crash. You can purchase a helmet at any of these locations.
  • Be alert
    Don't ride distracted.

Safe Bicycling in the Washington Area

The Washington Area Bicyclist Association, District of Columbia Department of Transportation, and BikeArlington created "Safe Bicycling in the Washington Area" to instruct readers on everything bicyclists need to know, including:

  • Fitting and equipping your bike;
  • Where and how to park your bike;
  • How to choose a good helmet;
  • Traffic basics;
  • Lane positioning, turning, and passing;
  • What to wear at night and in inclement weather to be visible, and stay warm and dry;

And a whole lot more! Additional information and smart bicycling tips can be found on the WABA website.

Bicycle Classes

Been a while since you last rode a bike? Never been on a bike before? Just want to improve your safety on a bike? To promote safe and fun riding, Arlington County, the District Department of Transportation, and the Washington Area Bicyclist Association offer free bicycle safety classes to educate you on the skills needed to safely ride a bike in an urban environment.

Our Confident City Cycling classes are offered in both D.C. and Arlington, so you won't have to go far to find a class. To register for our free classes, click here.


While personal helmets are not provided by Capital Bikeshare, their use is strongly encouraged. Stop in at one of many local and participating stores and show your membership key or daily receipt to receive a 10% discount on a helmet.

Bicycling Laws

To be a safe cyclist, it's important to know and follow the law. Cycling laws vary in the Washington area, so the Washington Area Bicyclist Association put together a comparison of D.C., Maryland, and Virginia bike laws in its "Selected Bicycle Guidelines for the Washington Area".

For a full list of your state's bike laws, visit the District of Columbia Department of Transportation, Maryland Department of Transportation, or the Virginia Department of Transportation.

Bicycle Maps

Bike lanes, trails, and suggested routes are popping up all around D.C. and Arlington. Take advantage of how bike-friendly D.C. and Arlington have become by planning your trip before you go with D.C.'s and Arlington's bike maps, listed here. We think you'll be impressed with just how easy it is to go by bike.