Are You Ready to Bike to Work? (BTWD 2012) – 511 Contra Costa

Are You Ready to Bike to Work? (BTWD 2012)

Yes, it’s that time of year….

All Along The Bike Path
photo credit: Marc van Woudenberg

…Thursday, May 10th, is Bike to Work Day!
If you’ve been contemplating bicycling to work but felt unsure about the idea, rest assured you will not be cycling alone if you decide to participate in Bike to Work Day. You will likely encounter more cyclists along your commute on Bike to Work Day than any other day of the year! Bike to Work Day is the perfect day to pick up cycling – even if only for the occasion– and give it a try with thousands of other Bay Area residents.
Not only can you take comfort in safety in numbers, but you can take advantage of one of 200 “energizer stations” scattered throughout the Bay for the day. What is an energizer station? Simply put, a station providing free beverages, snacks, goodies and encouragement to bicyclists on this special day.
To see if there’s an energizer station anyone along your commute, check out the Bay Area Energizer Station map– from Pittsburg, to San Pablo, to El Cerrito, and San Ramon, Contra Costa County is well represented!
Of course, before you hop on your bike for the big day, it’ll be useful to review some basic road rules and safety procedures:

  • Bicycles have the same responsibilities and rights as motorists, so obey traffic signals and stop signs. Ride with traffic flow; use the rightmost lane headed in the direction you are going. Most cities do not allow cycling on sidewalks although some exceptions do apply and some exceptions are made for youth.
  • Be Predictable. Make your intentions clear to motorists and trail users. Ride in a straight line and don’t swerve between parked cars. Signal turns, and check behind you before turning or changing lanes. This is true for cycling on trails as well. The EBRPD asks that you ring or call out when approaching pedestrians.
  • Be visible. Ride where drivers can see you. Use a front white light, red rear light and reflectors for night cycling or when visibility is poor. Make eye contact with drivers so you know they see you.
  • Plan ahead. Anticipate what drivers, pedestrians, and other bicyclists will do next. Watch for turning vehicles and ride outside the door zone of parked cars. Look out for debris, potholes, and utility covers. Cross railroad tracks at right angles.
Santa Monica Door Lane / Bike Lane
Be sure to ride far away enough from parked cars to avoid having to maneuver around drivers swinging their car doors open. photo credit: Gary Kavanagh

  • Equipment Check. Tires should be very firm, check that brakes are working, chain runs smoothly, and quick release wheel levers are closed. Carry repair and emergency supplies appropriate for your ride.

And if you’re cycling on the Iron Horse or Canal Trail, review the Iron Horse and Canal Trail Tips from the East Bay Regional Parks District:

  • Speed. Bicycles shall not be ridden at an unsafe speed, or greater than the posted speed limit. Be aware of how you are perceived by other trail users.
  • Bells are required on bicycles on Park District trails.
  • Bicycles always yield to pedestrians. Before passing, SLOW DOWN, ring bell and establish verbal contact. Give plenty of space when passing and be sure to look ahead while passing to avoid on-coming collisions.
  •  On blind turns, SLOW DOWN, call out, ring bell and ride single file.
(Note: Here’s a map of the Iron Horse Trail)
Once you know the rules, Bike to Work Day is ultimately about fun: be sure to get out there, enjoy the beautiful surroundings, and embrace the experience of taking two wheels. And if you’re lucky, every day can be bike to work day – after all, it’s getting easier with solid-green bike lanes spreading across the Bay! Need added inspiration

Happy Cycling!

CK
photo credit: Marc van Woudenberg

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