Did you know that we’re already a third of the way through National Bike Month? That’s right, May is National Bike Month. And today is the first day of Bike to Work Week (May 11 through May 15, 2015).
National Bike Month
If you’ve never heard of National Bike Month (and you can’t decipher the clever title/slogan), here’s what the League of American Bicyclists has to say about it. National Bike Month
Established in 1956, National Bike Month is a chance to showcase the many benefits of bicycling — and encourage more folks to giving biking a try… Whether you bike to work or school; ride to save money or time; pump those pedals to preserve your health or the environment; or simply to explore your community, National Bike Month is an opportunity to celebrate the unique power of the bicycle and the many reasons we ride. (League of American Bicyclists)
Spinning vs. Cycling
Two and a half months after breaking my humorous in a ski accident, I’m especially eager to saddle up and pedal off. Recover is taking forever! I’ve been “spinning” inside for about a month now, but despite the impressive exercise potential, it lacks the beauty and transportation benefits of the real thing.
Indoor spinning lacks that elusive bicycle magic too. Do you know what I’m referring to? I distinctly remember the exhilarating sense of freedom that bicycling induced in me as a child. I remember because I still feel it almost every time I head out for a ride.
Bike to Work Week
As part of National Bike Month May 11 through May 15, 2015 has been designated Bike to Work Week. What better incentive to start spring out right by pedaling to work? Especially because the weather forecast is so sunny and dry!
Now I know that cycling to work is more feasible for some than others. And I also realize that some of our readers’ daily commute is from bed to desk, or from farmhouse to barn. But plenty of my neighbors’ cars and trucks roll past my office window every work day, and I’m guessing that at least a few of you could swap petro-power for pedal-power. And you’ll most likely have a wonderful ride!
Bicycle Hand Signals
Although there’s something suspiciously old fashioned about cycling hand signals, gesticulating remains the single most effective way of communicating your turning/stopping intentions to drivers, pedestrians and other bike riders. It also happens to be the law!
Here’s what you need to know about hand signaling when bicycling.
According to New York State Law cyclists should signal on the road. Most hand signals are made with the left hand. The reasoning behind this is that bikers are on the right side of the road. (Biking Gotham)
That handy diagram on the right (courtesy of Biking Gotham) is worth printing and gluing to your handlebars. Or just memorize it. It may save your life. And it could save you a citation from a conscientious police officer.
And while I’m on the topic of safe and legal cycling, let’s take a look at some other bike laws.
New York State Bike Laws
Although not an exhaustive look at NYS bicycling laws, I’d like to quickly draw your attention to a few important laws. (Please note that the following was current as of August 2012 and may be subject to change.)
Safe Passing Laws New York requires that the operator of a vehicle overtaking, from behind, a bicycle proceeding on the same side of a roadway shall pass to the left of such bicycle at a safe distance until safely clear. Source: N.Y. Veh. & Traf. Law §1122-a
Helmet Law New York requires that any person under the age of 14 riding a bicycle, as an operator or passenger, must wear a protective bicycle helmet. Source: N.Y. Veh. & Traf. Law §1238
Where to Ride New York requires that bicyclists ride as near to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway or upon a usable right-hand shoulder in such a manner as to prevent undue interference with the flow of traffic except under any of the following circumstances: When preparing for a left turn or when reasonably necessary to avoid conditions that would make it unsafe to continue along near the right-hand curb or edge, including those caused by traffic lanes too narrow for a bicycle or and a vehicle to travel safely side-by-side within the lane. Source: N.Y. Veh. & Traf. Law §1234
Bicycling Under the Influence New York’s law prohibiting driving while under the influence of alcohol or other controlled substances is written so that it applies to motor vehicles and therefore does not directly apply to bicyclists. Nevertheless bicycles should not be operated while intoxicated. Source: N.Y. Veh. & Traf. Law §1192
Treatment as a Vehicle In New York bicycles are not vehicles according to the statute that defines vehicles, but a person riding a bicycle has all of the rights and duties of a driver of a vehicle under Title 7 of the New York State Vehicle and Traffic Code, except for those provisions that by their nature can have no application. Source: N.Y. Veh. & Traf. Law §§159; 1231
Source: League of American Bicyclists
Additional Bike Safety Resources
The following links may prove useful to improve your understanding of cycling laws, rules, and safety.
- SafeNY Compilation of laws: http://www.safeny.ny.gov/bike-vt.htm
- Transportation Alternatives Bicycling resources: http://www.transalt.org/resources/laws
- New York Bicycling Coalition Bicycle Law resources: http://www.nybc.net/online-resources/nybikelaws
- Bicycling Rules! Rules of the Road: http://bikingrules.org/rules/rulesoftheroad