Watch for bikes
May is National Bike to Work and School Month. It’s a tradition that has grown during the years we’ve been observing it in Reno, and as so many roads and streets in Reno have been adapted to bicycles, it’s apt to become an even greater year-round observance.
But with those vulnerable bicyclists on the roads, everyone is required to be more aware of what’s on the road and what’s in the crosswalks, because a bicycle—no matter the attitude of the rider—never wins against a car.
The first thing to be aware of is that bike riders have the same rights and responsibilities as people in automobiles, and they are subject to the same rules and regulations. There’s nothing more frustrating to people who ride intelligently and legally than to see some moron riding like the rules of the road don’t apply to him or her: ignoring traffic signs and signals, impeding traffic, acting like an ass.
The second thing to be aware of is that motorists must be on the lookout for people on bicycles before turning, merging into bicycle lanes, or opening doors next to moving traffic. Bicyclists by law are entitled to a three-feet space when automobiles pass them. There’s nothing more frustrating to people who ride intelligently and legally than to see some moron driving like the rules of the road don’t apply to him or her: driving in a threatening manner, not obeying right-of-way rules for people on bikes, acting like an ass.
The 3 Foot Passing Bill, SB248, which passed in 2011, “requires a driver of a motor vehicle to overtake and pass a bicycle or an electric bicycle proceeding in the same direction by: (1) moving the vehicle into the immediate left lane, if there is more than one lane traveling in the same direction and it is safe to move into the lane; or (2) passing to the left of the bicycle or electric bicycle at a distance of not less than 3 feet from the bicycle or electric bicycle,” according to the Nevada Bicycle Coalition, http://nevadabike.wordpress.com.
For those who are first-time bicycle commuters, there are four general safety rules that will generally keep you alive: 1) Always maintain control of your bicycle. This means avoiding road obstacles like gravel and generally keeping your hands on the handle bar. 2) Wear a helmet. Brain injuries are permanent. If you’re not lucky enough to die from head trauma, you may be a burden on your family for years to come. You’re not too cool for a helmet. 3) Let others see you. Wear bright colors, reflective fabrics, and use your hand signals to show which way you intend to go. 4) Always ride with traffic. Yes, forget what you might have learned in grade school, automobiles are less likely to run you down if you’re going the same direction.
For individuals or businesses that want to sign up for Bike to Work Week, May 11-17, go to http://bikenevada.org/2013-registration.
For people who want to find out where the Reno Bike Project will be serving pancakes on May 17, www.renobikeproject.com/2013/04/bike-to-work-day-pancake-feed-may-17.