Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Biking safely in Bellingham

For Bellingham’s 13th annual Bike to Work and School Day Friday, May 21, cyclists heading south from the Sehome neighborhood to Western Washington University will quickly discover that the bike lane on Indian Street is in a state of disrepair.

The Indian Street bike lane is littered with potholes and uneven pavement which pose a safety hazard to cyclists headed uphill to the university.

With “Bike to Work and School Day” approaching, Whatcom Council of Governments EverybodyBIKE Coordinator Ellen Barton said there are two lesser-known safety tips cyclist should know before hitting the road.

1. If the bike lane is full of potholes or parallel ridges that could trap the bicycle wheel, cyclist should merge into traffic and ride in the car lane. This will allow greater visibility to drivers and provide a smooth surface to ride on.

If the bike lane runs parallel to street parking, cyclists should stay at least four feet from the parked cars to avoid being hit by an opening car door, even if this means merging into traffic.

“Cyclists think riding close to the curb and away from traffic is safer, but it’s actually the opposite,” Barton said. “Often riding in the street is safer than riding in the bike lane because motorists will be able to see the cyclist.”

Check out the everybodyBIKE website for more tips and videos on bike safety.

May is Bike Month--for more bicycle assistance or to find bike maps, check out the city of Bellingham’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Programs.

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