Be careful out there…a few rules for bike riding.
By Tim Hauserman
Yes, it’s that time of year again. Long, warm days that call us to get outside and hike, bike, paddle and swim. Or perhaps your preferred method of enjoyment is a bit of savasana on the beach before a quiet snooze? Of course, the fact that it is so awesome in Tahoe means we will not have the place to ourselves in July and August, especially on the bike trails, so here are a few suggestions on what to do to keep safe:
Are you a biker on the bike trail?
Be careful out there. The Truckee River bike trail especially can be an obstacle course requiring swift maneuvering to avoid slow moving bikes, fast moving bikes, runners, walkers, little tykes enjoying life on some other planet, and of course the always dangerous rafters hell bent for the restrooms. Please ride on the right. Ride single file. Be alert for obstacles that quickly change direction. When passing say, “On your left” loud enough for someone to hear you, but not so loud as to scare them. Want to avoid the heaviest traffic? Go early in the morning or after five in the evening.
Are you a walker or runner on the bike trail?
The bike lane is like a road for bicycles, treat it accordingly. Just like a road, don’t just stand in the middle of it not paying attention. Walk on the left so that riders on the right can see you. Only take up one lane so that riders can go around you. If you are walking with children, be sure to keep them in one lane as well and explain to them that bikes will be on the trail and that they come by fast.
Are you a driver on the road wondering what to do about them dang riders?
Perhaps you would prefer that there were no bikes on the road, but sorry, they have a right to be there. Please be careful. DONT TEXT OR USE YOUR CELL PHONE WHILE DRIVING. The people you may kill are folks with kids and parents who love them. The law says that you must give riders at least 3 feet of buffer zone when you pass. This is because roads can have rough surfaces and riders usually cannot follow a straight line. Sometimes the bike lane, if there is one, is either very sandy or full of potholes and poorly designed drainage grates. So slow down, and give them lots of room when passing. When parked parallel along the road, say in Tahoe City, look in your side view mirror before pulling out into traffic. There may be a bike there, and it is probably going faster then you think.
Are you a rider on the road?
In the summer I spend perhaps more time on my bike then in a car…but still, I get mad at bicyclists. Yes, we have a right to be on the road and yes, there are some bad actors out there behind the wheel, but bikers: Stay as far as you can to the right. Ride single file! Follow the traffic laws. Wear a helmet. Take the freaking buds out of your ears. Oh, and if you are that guy: You know the one riding the wrong way, no helmet on, buds in, checking his cell phone…please stop. You are not in Isla Vista anymore. It ain’t safe and you are pissing off the drivers who are on the same road as we are.
And remember the rule: Lead, follow or get out of the way.