The Greeley Bike Blog
In Colorado, June is Bike Month.
There will be numerous activities and events celebrating the bicycle as a
means of transportation as well as a healthy way to get fit.
Many of you will be riding your bike for the first time after a long
hiatus so I thought it might be good to give a few safety tips as a reminder
that it’s important to be safe while riding on the roads.
1. Cycling Citizenship
Along with the right to cycle come responsibilities. Familiarize yourself with
all applicable traffic laws and cycling rules. Each state has its own set; be
aware of them. Motorists will be much more willing to accept cyclist’s rightful
place on the road if cyclists act lawfully and respectfully. Do not run stop
signs or red lights or use the wrong side of the street. It is best and safest
to ride single file. Riding responsibly will do wonders towards easing tensions
and fostering a more harmonious environment between motorists and cyclists.
2. Right On
It is generally unwise or unsafe to ride on a sidewalk or on the road towards
oncoming traffic. As a rule, it is best to ride in the direction of traffic,
staying as far to the right as is practical. However, make sure there is room to
handle emergencies and that you do not ride so close to the right that you run
the risk of hitting the curb and being thrown into traffic. There are times when
you simply cannot stay to the far right—whether it’s to overtake another cyclist
or vehicle, to make a left turn, or to avoid a hazard. Be sure to wait for a
safe opportunity and use the proper hand signals when you take a lane.
3. Join In
If you are traveling at the same speed as other traffic, it may be safer to jump
in and ride with traffic; because, this may make you more visible to motorists.
Joining traffic is sometimes necessary because the road is simply too narrow for
both a bike and a car. It is a particularly good idea to take a lane and join
traffic before an intersection to make your presence known—especially for
right-turning drivers who may not see you as they start their turn.
When you do join traffic, make sure you never pass on the right. This is always
dangerous, but particularly so in an intersection. By waiting directly behind a
vehicle, you can see a car’s signals; otherwise, you never know if the motorist
is about to make a right turn and hit you.
4. Use Your Head
Regardless if you’re going to the corner store or heading out on a marathon
ride, always wear a helmet. Make sure it is properly fastened and fitted. (The
helmet should fit snugly and not move when you shake your head.)
5. Seeing Eye to Eye
Make eye contact with drivers whenever possible. This ensures that the motorists
see you and helps you assert your rightful place on the road. This “personal
connection” reminds motorists that you are indeed real LIFE in need of attention
and protection. Once you make that connection, motorists may give you more
respect on the road.
6. The Road Straightly Traveled
Try to ride consistently and predictably. For instance, at an intersection, do
not veer into the crosswalk and then suddenly reappear on the road again. Don’t
thread through parked cars. With such erratic behavior, motorists will not be
aware of your presence when you try to re-emerge into traffic. (Inconsistent
conduct increases your chances of being squeezed out of traffic or, worse,
7. Playing Defense
This is probably one of the most important tips I can suggest.
Make sure you are always aware of your surroundings. Know what is behind
you and watch out for what is in front of you. Always be on the lookout for road
hazards; sand and gravel, glass, railroad tracks, parked cars, snow and slush
can wreak havoc on you and your bike. Sewer grates and cracks in the road can
catch your wheel and cause you to be thrown from the bike. Watch for parked cars
where people may be opening doors on the driver side of the vehicle without
looking. Always wait until you have ample time to make your move, whether you
are changing a lane or turning a corner. Do not expect to be granted the right
of way in any instance.
8. Flaunt It
Make your presence felt. Wear bright color clothing. At night or in inclement
weather, it is important to use reflective lights in the front, side and rear
that make you visible from all directions.
9. Helping Hands
Emergencies happen. Be prepared. Always make sure you have at least one hand on
your handlebars, no matter what. Know and use your hand signals whenever you are
changing lanes or making a turn.
10. Brake Away
Make sure your brakes are always in top-notch condition. Be aware of how weather
and road conditions can affect your ability to brake.
Please go to
www.greeleybikes.com and learn about all the events happening this month.
Remember, ride safe and have fun.