Include plan for final block when cycling
October 12, 2017
Glenwood Springs is rich in bicycle access — beautiful separated bicycle paths along the rivers, well-marked lanes on quiet streets, street crossings with crosswalks and flashers, relatively flat riding terrain, typically fair weather and bicycle awareness among drivers.
All this adds up to facilitate safe, convenient two-wheeled trips to the store, to work, to school, to appointments — at least up to that last block.
Getting to the final destination is generally easier for cyclists than for car drivers, who often have to search for parking and then walk long distances. Cyclists, though, sometimes struggle to safely and courteously navigate the final approach.
Four factors are key to completing the local bicycle trip — a travel plan, secure bicycle parking, obedience to restrictions and courtesy to other travelers, especially pedestrians.
A PLAN FOR THE WHOLE RIDE
For nearly every bicycle trip, there is a threshold crossing from freewheeling travel into tighter, more congested areas. Sidewalks, ramps, curbs, stairways, doorways, cars and people can get jumbled together, especially near popular destinations such as grocery, post office, medical offices and downtown business district.
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After a couple of practice rides, the alert and well-prepared cyclist gets to know the little connections that lead directly to their goal without delay, without inconveniencing others and without collisions.
Avoid connections dominated by cars, slow down to navigate tight turns, ride on sidewalks if necessary (only if allowed and not too busy), be extra alert to surprise moves by others.
ABUNDANT BICYCLE PARKING
Sometimes, it seems that there is no bicycle rack where the rider wants it to be. Sometimes racks are poorly designed, in disrepair, in an exposed or unsafe location, or full.
A small amount of preparation and impromptu hunting usually can overcome those parking problems, however.
The city of Glenwood Springs has recently installed some 600 new bicycle parking spaces, strategically located to serve the most frequented parts of town. A complete map of public racks is presented at the city's internet page — http://tinyurl.com/GlenwoodBikeRacks — or follow the links: city of Glenwood Springs to "Detour Toolbox" to "Click to see location of bike racks"
The city-installed racks are supplemented by others provided by local businesses — including the Hot Springs Pool (north side and south side), hospital, library, most banks, both groceries and many others. Each school also has a good supply of racks.
Using an actual bicycle rack has several advantages important both to the cyclist and to others. Attaching bicycles to trees can harm the bark. Using signposts often blocks access for pedestrians and leaves the bicycle vulnerable to being run over. Parking near entrances can create safety hazards.
As noted, some racks are poorly designed; the careful cyclist attaches to them in a way that avoids a fallen bike or bent wheels. Riders should avoid racks that leave bicycles exposed to passing or parking cars. (Ask the proprietor to move the racks to a safer location or to effectively barricade them from cars.)
If the first rack you find is full, look around. It is likely that another is nearby. (Ask proprietors to add more if they are consistently full.)
SOMETIMES YOU HAVE TO WALK
Several particularly busy parts of town are better traversed on foot, either because that is more practical or because it is required.
The downtown business core includes a zone in which cyclists are required to dismount on sidewalks. That zone lies between Colorado and Cooper, between Seventh and 10th. Cyclists are allowed to ride on all those streets, just not on the sidewalks. Also, dismounting is currently required on the sidewalk along the north side of Seventh Street — the connection between downtown and the bicycle-pedestrian bridge and elevator.
Dismounting in these areas not only makes walkers more comfortable, it often is less clumsy and pokey for the cyclist.
COURTESY IS KEY
In addition to the official dismount areas, the conscientious cyclist slows way down or walks the bicycle in any situation where conditions get too congested. This is sometimes necessary during busy times on that downtown bicycle-pedestrian bridge, for example, along the Roaring Fork River Trail and in crowded parking lots. Whether slowing or walking, always yield to pedestrians.
Make a plan that includes the final leg, use proper bicycle parking, and watch out for others. That's the combination that ensures pleasant, efficient riding while leaving a positive impression of bicycles in general.
Join Glenwood Springs Bicycle Advocates in riding and promoting local bicycle use. For more information, call 618-8264, or write firstname.lastname@example.org.