Saturday, June 19, 2010

Keeping Family Safe

As I was being attacked by a swarm of vicious mosquitoes last night, I realized....SUMMER IS HERE. I wasn't sure if my excitement was from the fact that I was on a bicycle ride, or the feeling of euphoria generated by the loss of blood draining into the little parasitic bloodsuckers as they helped themselves to a pint or two of my o+ iron rich body fluids.

Regardless of the reasons for my elation, I am encouraged by the plethora of young people out enjoying the world of two wheeled excitement. I have been engaged in conversations concerning the safest places for kids to ride, and I realized that there needs to be more advocacy for safe riding in the Laramie city limits.

I thought some statistics would be in order, along with some rules of the road...and of course links to find the you don't think I am crazy. So here we go;

There are some many little tidbits to help keep you safe as you commute in town.
  1. Choose low traffic routes. Don't ride on Grand Ave, 3rd, 9th, or 15th street. Find a side road and be safe.
  2. Don't ride against traffic.
  3. Ride like you are invisible - Make sure you can be seen, but in the end, make sure you are aware when someone misses you.
  4. Wear a helmet.
  5. Follow the rules of the road. All of the rules of the road. Stop signs, signals, lights, directionality, and ride in the road....which leads me to the BIG ONE...
  6. STAY OFF THE SIDEWALKS. There are exceptions, like the greenbelt routes, and the interior of the University where there isn't a road adjacent to the sidewalk. So many people ask me why we should stay off the sidewalk. Well, here are just a few reasons:
According to the Laramie Municipal Code of Conduct (Ordnance #12.04.120) No person shall operate a bicycle on the sidewalk.

You are four times more likely to be in a collision if you are riding your bicycle on the sidewalk, and the chances of a fatal collision increase drastically. The collisions range from hitting a walker coming out of a building, to being struck by a car pulling out of a driveway or parking lots. Basically, riding on the sidewalk is one of the most dangerous ways you can ride. The most common way a cyclist will die is when a car exits a driveway and either runs over, or is struck by a bicycle on the sidewalk. Another aspect of sidewalk riding is the constant merging with traffic at intersection after intersection. Statistics from around the country confirm that the most likely place to be killed by a car is at an intersection.

So be safe, and don't ride on the sidewalks. I think this discussion will have to be revisited, due to the important nature of the materials. Today, we will end with a few things that you should do. For instance; RIDE YOUR BIKE. Ride just like you would if you were driving a car. One of my favorite slogans for safe riding is, "Same Rights, Same Rules, Same Responsibilities." Obviously it is refereeing to bicycles being a vehicle. If you follow the rules of the road, ride safe, and remain defensive, riding a bicycle is extremely safe. In fact, it is one of the safest ways to commute.

So ride your bike in the streets, with traffic, and obey all of the traffic signs and laws. Make sure motorists can see you, wear a helmet, and ride defensively. Happy Trails from the Pedal House.

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