Safe bicycle riding takes extra care and caution | PostIndependent.com

Safe bicycle riding takes extra care and caution

Bicycling is turning out to be a very convenient way to travel around Glenwood Springs during the Grand Avenue bridge closure. Especially for practical local trips — commuting, school, shopping, errands and appointments — riding a bicycle for at least part of the distance has become easier than driving.

Many safe cycling routes and trails already are separate from major motorways, so it can be easy to avoid detours, traffic congestion and delays faced by cars.

Safe cycling itself, however, depends on an important set of cautions and precautions taken by the cyclist. Face it, even the most responsibly driven car is immensely larger, heavier and more dangerous than a bicycle. If there is a collision, the cyclist will be the one hurt.

Some key ways to avoid being hit by a car include:

• Ride defensively (and not offensively).

• Assume drivers do not see you, especially at intersections.

• Remember that many drivers will drive across a crosswalk or sidewalk without looking your way.

• Even courteous and supportive drivers have their lapses.

• Don’t rely on right of way, even if you have it.

• Beware blind intersections and driveways.

• Beware drivers turning in front of you, even after they just passed you.

• Beware parallel-parked drivers opening a car door in front of you.

• Use marked bicycle lanes whenever available (Blake Avenue, Pitkin Avenue, Donegan Road), but remember that it is only paint; watch for drivers crossing into your lane, especially near intersections.

• Be visible, wear bright colors or a fluorescent rider’s vest or jacket.

• Be predictable — obey lights and stop signs, signal your turns, don’t swerve.

• Traverse roundabouts carefully; use the crosswalks and flashing signals.

• Be alert — listen to music and talk on the phone after your ride (or stop if you need to make a call).

Also some tips to avoid crashing on your own:

• Know your route, including its surface hazards — gravel, sharp curbs, steep grades, potholes, awkward turns.

• Adjust your speed according to conditions and circumstances.

• Know your riding ability, learn your balance (both will get better with every ride).

• Always yield to pedestrians, and watch for other riders, trying to anticipate sudden moves by others; signal when passing — bell or horn is best, but politely calling out works, too.

• Slow down and look carefully especially at entrances to the River Trail, Rio Grande Trail, and the Midland end of the new Red Mountain (14th Street) bridge.

• Keep your bicycle in good repair and tune — especially properly inflated tires, reliable brakes, adjusted handlebars and seat, smooth shifters, stable loads.

The independence and convenience of riding a bicycle — and the time outdoors — can be exhilarating. Use the resulting sharp wits and alertness to your safe advantage.

Enjoy your ride!

Join Glenwood Springs Bicycle Advocates in riding and promoting local bicycle use. For more information, call 618-8264, or write glenwoodbikes@rof.net.


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