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Safety tips for new bicycle commuters

Gas prices have more people using bikes
October 2, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
More and more people are leaving their car in park and using pedal power to get to where they need to go these days.That rush of new bicyclists is causing stress for drivers who aren't used to sharing the road, and for bicyclists who might not remember all the right rules.

If you're like most people you haven't ridden a bike since you were a kid.

Now with the high price of gas, you may be thinking some two wheel transportation looks pretty good, but before you dust off that old bike, keep in mind a few things have changed.

Bob Chauncey of the National Center for Bicycling points out, "The rules of the road have changed, maybe there's more traffic on the road, saying maybe my reflexes aren't what they used to be, so occasionally bad things happen."

Bicyclist Mike Early has seen a couple of close calls.

It takes just one anxiety-filled ride with traffic to realize it's best to be informed, so cyclists are pedaling their way to safety classes by the masses.

Chauncey says his organization has been busy. "We get more phone calls now than we have ever had saying gee, can you come and do a workshop, can you come and do a little bike safety training."

Knowing the rules have changed is step one.

Never ride on the sidewalk, it's illegal most places and use bike lanes if they exist.

If not, you have the right to pedal with traffic, but be careful.

Chauncey reminds cyclists "Think of yourself as a vehicle. Be predictable. Be brightly colored. Signal your intentions. Follow the rules. When it says stop, stop."

If you're a driver, remember, you have more protection around you than the cyclist.

Chauncey says "When in doubt give the cyclist a little extra slack!"

It's also a good idea to take your bike to a shop for a tune up, you can also find out information on safety classes at many shops.

Get more information on the League of American Bicycles

 

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