Thursday is Bike to Work Day in Minneapolis, and whether it’s your first time bike commuting or you’re a regular, here are some tips to make your commute safer:
- Try to pick streets with reasonable speed limits of 20-35 mph when possible, with a wide lane or dedicated bicycle infrastructure like a bike lane. On faster roads, look for a good shoulder or an extra-wide lane.
- Stop at stop signs. Bikers who are seen blowing stop signs give all of us a bad name. Knockitoff, ‘kay?
- Signal your turns. This is typically done left-handed, for greatest motorist visibility.
- Avoid getting to the right of a right turning car when you’re planning to go straight in those tricky Straight-Right Turn Option lanes.
- Wear visible clothing. Reflective strips may not be on the runways in Milan, but hospital gowns are really un-chic. Bright colors are also a good plan.
- If you’re planning a maiden voyage tomorrow, check your bike out before you go. Is the chain tight, the tires inflated, the seatpost raised so that you get full leg extension when pedaling? Yeah, get that all done. If you miss Bike to Work Day tomorrow, you can declare another one any time you want, and it’s more fun with a functional bicycle.
- Have a plan. Do you sweat? Do your coworkers not want to smell you? Have a plan for how you’ll make yourself pleasant and office-appropriate. (Seriously, even in casual offices, people don’t like you if you smell.)
- Don’t use your phone or text while riding. Sheesh.
The League of American Bicyclists offers additional sage advice for riding better. The Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota often offer various courses throughout Minnesota to encourage Minnesotans to have fun on their bikes.
There are several events for Bike to Work Day tomorrow, with celebrations at REI Bloomington for Bloomington strip commuters, Hennepin County Center in downtown Minneapolis, and Rice Park in Saint Paul. These are several additional celebration locations for smaller events noted on the Bike Walk Week web site.