Road and Gravel Riders – Spring Safety Tips + Tricks
By Lee Cox, Member of Routt County Riders and Routt County Multi-Modal Transportation Committee
As biking season begins, it is time to remind everyone, bikers and drivers alike, to be courteous to others.
- Don’t be a bike snob – wave, nod, or say “hello” to your fellow bikers. Also, if you are riding up on someone, don’t be stealth: say something to warn them that you are passing. Even if some have mirrors, like skiing, it is not their job to be constantly looking behind themselves.
- Follow the laws – the best way to earn the respect of drivers is to obey the laws, which include: stopping at red lights and stop signs, signaling turns, and riding in single file when cars are approaching.
- Take out the earbuds – not only is it illegal, but enjoy the sounds of nature (peeper frogs and sandhill cranes are my favorites to listen to, and if I am lucky, I can hear a hawk or eagle); it also helps you hear oncoming traffic and the greetings from your fellow cyclists.
- Stay off of the sidewalks downtown – it is not safe to ride on Lincoln Avenue either. Use Oak Street, Yampa Avenue, or the bike path.
- Don’t ride against traffic – ride on the right-hand shoulder. If you are biking on the left-hand shoulder, then drivers at an intersection who are turning right will not look in your direction, and you could be hit.
- If a driver is courteous enough to wait on a hill or a curve, help them out by signaling if it is OK for them to pass.
- Participate in a fundraiser bike ride – Put your biking to good use by raising money for a worthy cause. There are plenty of opportunities to do so. Visit routtcountyriders.org/events for event updates and info!
- Give bikers plenty of room when you pass – the opposite side of the white line isn’t always enough; on many shoulders, there is much gravel and other detritus which can cause flats. If there are two lanes on route 40, use the left one (the “passing lane”) to pass bikes.
- The law says three feet, but the bigger you are and/or the faster you are going, you should give more than that. If there is a hill or blind curve, wait until you can see far enough ahead to pass safely.
- Use your turn signals – if the bicyclists know where you are going, then they can plan accordingly.
- Don’t pass a bike and then make an immediate right hand turn. You would not do that with a car; waiting 30 seconds to one minute will not kill you or make you late.
- CDOT has had a notice on the electronic message boards to watch out for motorcycles – watch out for bicycles as well.
Runners and walkers:
- Travel on the left side of the road – facing the oncoming traffic. That way, no one is surprised. On the Core Trail, walk a maximum of two abreast; please don’t block the whole trail.
- Do you have a dog? The leash law says a 6-foot leash. Reel them in when others approach.
Let’s all have a safe and friendly biking season!
— Lee Cox
Longtime Routt County cyclist, Routt County Riders member, and Multi-Modal Board member