Bicycling for Fun and Health
by Susan Byszeski
Nothing compares to the simple pleasure of riding a bike, President John F. Kennedy once said.
Bicycling is a popular form of recreation, and quickly becoming an actual alternative to driving a car to work or run errands. With weeks ahead of more predictably nice weather, you are likely to see an increasing number of bicycle riders on Redmond’s trails, in neighborhoods and on public streets. If you blend common sense with attention to basic rules of the road, and add a dash of courtesy, you can make your cycling experience safe and fun.
Urban trails are attractive to bicyclists and pedestrians, but conflicts can arise. Bicyclists should remember they go faster than pedestrians and need to yield to those who move more slowly. Proceed with caution at trail intersections. Those points on a trail can be most dangerous.
Moving traffic on the trail should stay to the right, just like cars on the road. If you want to pass someone ahead of you, announce your intention by loudly and clearly saying "passing on the left." Be sure you can hear what's going on around you by making the trail a “no cell or head phone zone.” Riding or walking with a partner can be more fun than on your own. Traveling two abreast is fine, but single file makes more sense on heavily traveled paths. And if you are riding at night, make sure you can be seen. Urban trails are often without light. A full brochure about safety on urban trails is available on the City’s website.
Biking to work is more common these days. You’ll see cyclists in bike lanes or sharing travel lanes with cars. As a driver, be courteous to bicyclists. They have as much right to the road as cars do. They are also vulnerable roadway users, so be sure to give them at least three feet of space. Be aware of bicyclists when making right turns. One of the most common bicycle/car collisions occurs when a driver makes a right hand turn in front of a moving bicycle.
As a cyclist, be sure your bike is in good working condition. Obey all traffic rules and road signs, just as drivers are obligated to do. Be sure the roadway is clear upon entering, and never go so fast that you can’t stop. Make yourself visible in traffic, day and night. If you must ride your bike at night make sure your headlights and reflectors are working well. And, of course, always wear a helmet. It is the law in King County.
If you need a helmet, the Redmond Police Department offers helmets from toddler size to adult XL for only $10 cash. Check the website for more information about how you can purchase a helmet and have it fitted for you at the Police/Fire Substation at Redmond Town Center. The substation is managed by volunteers, so call 425-556-2692 before you go to make sure someone will be there to help you.
Cyclists, here’s a tip to speed your trip. You can trigger the green light at a traffic signal by positioning your bike over the inductive loop detector for bicyclists. These detectors are often marked on the pavement with an X. The City of Redmond is increasing the number of intersections where this is possible, and will use the universal bike symbol to identify their location.
For a short educational video on inductive loop detectors for bicycles, go to www.redmond.gov/connectingredmond/resources/bicycling.asp. For a list of locations where inductive loop detectors for bicycles are and will be located in Redmond, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 425-556-2882.
You can find a lot of information about commuting by bike at the City’s R-TRIP (Redmond Trip Resource and Incentive Program) website. Both the City and the R-TRIP websites provide many other resources for bicyclists, so check them out.
Many safe and happy miles to you.