May 2003

Tips for Safe Bicycle Riding

Bicycles and automobiles share the roads. They both must operate  responsibly and respectfully and obey all traffic laws.

Remember to follow these rules of the road when riding your bicycle:

       Always wear a bicycle helmet

       Ride on the right side of the road - in the same direction as if you were driving a car

       Obey all stop signs and traffic lights

       Ride as far to the right in the driving lane as practicable

       Signal your intent to change lanes or to make a turn

       Be visible if you ride at night. Use a  flashing red/orange light and wear light colored clothing.

       Be predicable. Don't weave from the sidewalk to a driving lane.

       Don't run red lights or stop signs.

       Ride no more than two abreast

       Only one person per bicycle - no handle bar riding

       Make sure your bicycle is in good working order

Steps to Commuting by Bicycle:

1) Gear up - Have your bike checked out by your local bike shop pro. Most shops will perform a tune-up to make sure it's in working order for about $30.00

2) Select a route - Design a route by looking at a city map. Look for extra wide travel lanes and low traffic volumes.

3) Look for Route Options - Many buses will allow you to bring your bike on board. You may need to obtain permission in advance. Call the the Las Cruces Ride Share Program of the Transit Dept.

4) Consider a Bike Buddy - is there anyone at work who lives nearby that you might want to ride to work, or school, or elsewhere, with you? Knowing that someone is counting on you to ride can strengthen your resolve to bicycle. It can also be safer to ride as a pair, too, since you're a more formidable force on the road and have someone to help you in case of emergency.

5) Do a test run - On a day you would regularly take your car, drive the route and look for things like wide lanes and low traffic  flow. Check out the street conditions? Is the pavement even? Are there lots of parked cars? You may even try a test ride on your bicycle on a week-end prior to riding the route on a busy week day.

6) Start thinking like a Cyclist - This is not much different from thinking like a driver. The law in New Mexico gives bicycle riders the same rights and responsibilities as auto drivers.  You must ride no more than two abrest, ride in the same direction the traffic is going, indicate turns, stop at lights and signs, and ride on the  ride side of the road.

7)  Put safety first - Buy a Snell/ANSI approved helmet, then wear it. Check your bike for reflectors and other safety features. Wear brightly colored clothing, especially if you ride at dawn or dusk.

8)  Check your fitness level - You may want to consult your physician to make sure you're fit enough to ride.

9)  Talk to you employer - Your company may offer benefits for bicyclists, such as lockers, to store your bicycle, shower and changing facilities, and more.  Leave a change of clothes at work on days you drive.

10) Bike to Work or Anywhere - A great time to bike to work or anywhere is May - Bicycle Awareness Month