To stay safe, know your rights and responsibilities as a cyclist. Everybody may be in a rush, but motorists, pedestrians, and cyclists alike should all treat one another with respect. We all share the road. Knowing your rights—and responsibilities—as a cyclist is critical. And all three parties need to respect one another by following the law.

By state law, bicyclists have the right to operate in city streets, as long as they follow the rules of the road. If you barrel through a red light, for example, you’re endangering people crossing the street, and angering the drivers with whom you’re supposed to share the road. Additionally, by state law, bicyclists are not allowed to ride on the sidewalk in a commercial district—which means anywhere at Boston University. Likewise, pedestrians need to stay on the curb when you have the right of way. And so forth.

It’s a delicate balance, but if more and more commuters follow the rules (and if more and more of them decide to commute by bike, as is happening) we can achieve a critical mass of drivers, bikers, and walkers who actually know what they’re doing. You can’t control the behavior of others, but you can set a good example by controlling your own.

The bike advocacy group MassBike has great information that every newbie, veteran, and prospective cyclist should read. And the city’s program Boston Bikes, led by former Olympic cyclist Nicole Freedman, encourages bikers and motorists to learn the following key points of cycling safety.