Bike Colorado Springs Bicycle Safety Information
Your safety on a bicycle comes from a combination of knowledge and experience which allow you to ride with confidence in the varied environments, conditions and situations you will encounter as a bicyclist. One challenge for bicycling is that our skills are usually developed in childhood which tends to place it in the category of child’s play in the minds of both bike riders and the motoring public. Let the joy of bike riding be child-like but your safety should be serious business. This means bicyclists of all ages should devote time and focus to becoming safe and confident riders.
The League of American Bicyclists has the most complete and comprehensive information and bicycle education program available in the United States. This program and information is based on the most complete and comprehensive research being gathered annually. Much of this information is free on their website including tip sheets and downloadable videos along with information about taking classes. The League’s five “Rules of the Road” are the core of the Smart Cycling program and will prepare you for a safe and fun bike commute no matter where you are riding.
FOLLOW THE LAW
Your safety and image of bicyclists depend on you. You have the same rights and duties as drivers. Obey traffic signals and stop signs. Ride with traffic; use the rightmost lane headed in the direction you are going.
Make your intentions clear to everyone on the road. Ride in a straight line and don’t swerve between parked cars. Signal turns, and check behind you well before turning or changing lanes. One of our favorite bike bloggers Ayesha McGowan (AKA: A Quick Brown Fox) says it best
Ride like a hippo means to ride like a big assertive hippo, take the lane when necessary, and be predictable and deliberate while riding.
Ride where people can see you and wear bright clothing. Use a front white light, red rear light and reflectors when visibility is poor. Make eye contact with others and don’t ride on sidewalks.
Anticipate what drivers, pedestrians, and other people on bikes will do next. Watch for turning vehicles and ride outside the door zone of parked cars. Look out for debris, potholes, and other road hazards. Cross railroad tracks at right angles.
Check that your tires have sufficient air, brakes are working, chain runs smoothly, and quick release levers are closed. Carry tools and supplies that are appropriate for your ride. Wear a helmet.
The Colorado Department of Transportation recognizes the importance of bicycles as a legitimate, efficient, healthy form of transportation. At their website they also have significant free resources for your safe cycling development. These resources are state specific which in some cases is important.
Mountain Bike Safety and Etiquette
Mountain Biking has become a very popular type of bicycle riding in the last few years and, because of the terrain used, creates the need to develop a special set of riding skills. The International Mountain Biking Association is the most complete resource for information and education for safe riding. They offer the following “Rules of the Trail” as a place to start.
IMBA developed the “Rules of the Trail” to promote responsible and courteous conduct on shared-use trails. Keep in mind that conventions for yielding and passing may vary in different locations, or with traffic conditions.
- Ride Open Trails: Respect trail and road closures — ask a land manager for clarification if you are uncertain about the status of a trail. Do not trespass on private land. Obtain permits or other authorization as required. Be aware that bicycles are not permitted in areas protected as state or federal Wilderness.
- Leave No Trace: Be sensitive to the dirt beneath you. Wet and muddy trails are more vulnerable to damage than dry ones. When the trail is soft, consider other riding options. This also means staying on existing trails and not creating new ones. Don’t cut switchbacks. Be sure to pack out at least as much as you pack in.
- Control Your Bicycle: Inattention for even a moment could put yourself and others at risk. Obey all bicycle speed regulations and recommendations, and ride within your limits.
- Yield Appropriately: Do your utmost to let your fellow trail users know you’re coming — a friendly greeting or bell ring are good methods. Try to anticipate other trail users as you ride around corners. Bicyclists should yield to other non-motorized trail users, unless the trail is clearly signed for bike-only travel. Bicyclists traveling downhill should yield to ones headed uphill, unless the trail is clearly signed for one-way or downhill-only traffic. In general, strive to make each pass a safe and courteous one.
- Never Scare Animals: Animals are easily startled by an unannounced approach, a sudden movement or a loud noise. Give animals enough room and time to adjust to you. When passing horses, use special care and follow directions from the horseback riders (ask if uncertain). Running cattle and disturbing wildlife are serious offenses.
- Plan Ahead: Know your equipment, your ability and the area in which you are riding and prepare accordingly. Strive to be self-sufficient: keep your equipment in good repair and carry necessary supplies for changes in weather or other conditions. Always wear a helmet and appropriate safety gear.