May
20
2019

Trail Ramblings: Coming Up: Bike Safety 101.

Here is a teaser, a sort of horror version of a bike safety psa from 1963. Public sensibilities were different, but most of the safety rules are the same. View it at https://vimeo.com/133564723 (slightly better quality?), or on YouTube as One got fat.

Only one of the nine riders makes it to their destination in this 15 minute film, due to disregarding traffic and safety rules. What are the most dangerous or annoying habits you’ve seen among trail and street users in and around Lincoln?

You can glean some information by poking around the city website https://www.lincoln.ne.gov/city/plan/bike/

Dogs on extended leashes spanning the trail? Walkers, runners, and slower riders not staying to the right? Users without lights or reflective gear in the dark? Soon we’re probably going to see more e-bikes, some of them not even pedal assist, on the trails and possibly sidewalks. Gas powered bikes aren’t allowed at all, though we’ve all seen them there. It’s worrisome to think some e-cyclists speeds might increase, threatening other trail users. There are cyclists now who currently exceed the speed limit (20 mph?), head down, not looking ahead to oncoming trail traffic as they race each other or try to set personal speed records for that segment. The place to do that is on the shoulder of a highway, not on a trail.

Photo Credit: Elaine Hammer

Sidewalk riding is already dangerous. Just the other day I saw a sidewalk rider (no helmet) who like many, apparently believe it is safer. As I watched him whiz across the entrances of several businesses and parking lots, motorists had to brake not to hit him. So many conflict points! Had he been riding in the street where I was, the motorists would likely have seen him better, as they are looking for oncoming traffic, not pedestrians or cyclists. There are times when riding on a sidewalk may be your best option. For example, in heavier or higher speed traffic, or in construction zones, but this wasn’t one of them. A completely different route is the best option in those cases, but sometimes it can be hard to avoid taking a sidewalk. You have to judge which situation is really safest.

Photo credit: Kathryn Totten Kelley

A lot of you got lucky on some fabulous looking races and rides last weekend and didn’t get rained on. I’m hoping for the same luck this weekend. The trails can get crowded, so get out on pavement, gravel or dirt. Go fast or go far, with friends or solo, just get out and ride.

About the Author: Janine Copple

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