Published Wed, May 23, 2012 1:17 pm Dateline
As more Athens residents commit to commuting around town on a bicycle instead of in a car, bicycle enthusiasts encourage riders to know and practice bike safety.
According to Ohio law, bikes are considered vehicles and are subject to the same rules as cars. However, it is legal in Athens for bicyclists to ride on the sidewalk unless a sign indicates that it's prohibited.
Jarrid Wong, an employee at the Athens Bicycle Shop says riding on the sidewalk could actually be more dangerous than riding on the street.
"When a car is pulling out of a parking lot or a driveway or a parking structure, they are looking for cars. They are not looking for cyclists. Most cars are never looking for cyclists, but particularly when you are riding on the sidewalk," said Wong.
Wong says being visible is one of the most important things a bicyclist can do when riding in traffic.
He says installing blinking red lights on the back of your bike and a light in the front will ensure that others can see you and that you can see your environment.
Carrie Stemrich, the Southeast Regional Director for the Ohio Bicycle Federation, says bicyclists should be predictable to others. She recommends using hand signals to indicate intention to turn.
"Just point[ing] to the right is really the best signaling, and then point to the left when you intend to [go to] the left," she said. "You want to make sure you're doing it so that all cars can see you."
Wong recommends conducting what he calls the A-B-C quick check before hitting the road.
"A is for air in your tires. Make sure you have the appropriate amount of air in your tires. B is for your brakes. Pull your brake levers, make sure they engage properly. C is for your cranks, your chain rings and chains," he said. "Q, make sure your quick releases are appropriately tightened down and your wheels spin freely. Once you've done that, you're ready to go get on your bicycle."