Spoke Talk: Be aware and safe this biking season
April 20, 2012
Steamboat Springs — As biking season ramps up, it is time to remind bikers and drivers to be courteous to others.
■ Don't be a bike snob. Waive, nod or say "hello" to your fellow bikers. Also, if you are riding up on someone, say something to warn them that you are passing. Even if some have mirrors, it is not their job to constantly be looking behind them.
■ Follow the law. The best way to earn the respect of drivers is to obey the laws, which include stopping at red lights and stop signs and signaling turns. It helps if you ride single file when cars are approaching.
■ Take out the earbuds. Not only is it illegal, but enjoy the sounds of nature. (Peeper frogs and sandhill cranes are my favorites to listen to, and if I am lucky, I can hear a hawk or eagle.) It also helps you hear traffic approaching from behind.
■ Stay off the sidewalks downtown. It also is not very safe to ride on Lincoln Avenue. Use Oak Street, Yampa Street or the Yampa River Core Trail, and enjoy the quieter roads.
■ Don't ride against traffic. Ride on the right-hand shoulder. If you are biking on the left-hand shoulder, drivers who are turning right at an intersection will not look in your direction, and you could be hit.
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■ Participate in a fundraiser bike ride. Put your biking to good use by raising money for a worthy cause.
■ Give bikers plenty of room when you pass. Remember that the law requires three feet to pass. Cyclists don't have as many options of where to ride on the road; on many shoulders, especially in spring, there is gravel and other detritus that can cause flats. If there are two lanes on U.S. Highway 40, use the left one to pass bikes.
■ Use your turn signals. If the bicyclists know where you are going, they can plan accordingly.
■ Don't pass a bike and then make an immediate right-hand turn. You would not do that with a car.
■ The Colorado Department of Transportation has had a notice on the electronic message boards to watch out for motorcycles. Watch out for bicycles, as well.
Let's all have a safe biking season.
Lee Cox did her first Ride the Rockies in 1993, and has done Ride the Rockies or Bike Tour of Colorado (or both) ever since. She also volunteers for the Town Challenge Mountain Bike Race Series and other events.
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