When I’m riding the various trails around this area it’s always surprising to realize just how many people using them have no idea there are rules to follow. This often leads to negative interactions, and worse, accidents where people get hurt because people don’t take the time to acquaint themselves with the area they’re spending time in.
Whether on foot or on wheels when on the trails the rules are the same for everyone. If you have young children it’s important to teach them to be on the lookout for moving bicycles and staying safe.
Rules Of The Trails
- Stay to the right-no more than 2 across
- Call out when passing
- Pass on the left when it’s safe
- Observe the right of way
- Top Speed Limit is 15 miles an hour unless otherwise posted
- Speed Limit is 5 miles an hour in crowded areas
- Slow down to pass
- If you stop pull off the trail
- Use hand signals, even if alone
- Be polite and smile
- Keep an eye out for dogs and children.
Bikes follow the same laws that cars do whether riding on a trail or on the street. If there’s no bike trail you use the lane just like a car does. Make sure you’re seen before advancing in traffic. I use very few bike lanes on crowded streets but living near the Bay Trail I can get away with it.
Don’t be confused with the bike in the left lane (image above.) You won’t really stay in the left lane if others are using it. This is to show how to pass someone and the correct place to be.
“On your left,” is what you should call out when passing someone. I always say, “Thank you,” as I pass by, people resent you less for intruding with your bicycle and makes most of them smile. Being a good “Bicycle Ambassador” (a person that promotes cycling in a good way) is something to be proud of!
Hand signals are something you should learn and get in the habit of using. They are universal and easy to do. I use the easy signal on the bottom right (for my right turns) because the other way confuses me.
I don’t see these being used much on the trails but I do because it makes the path I’m taking crystal clear to others. I don’t think cyclists use them enough. You need to use them always even if you’re riding alone. Hand signals make your intentions known, show the path you’re taking and make people notice you.
There are hand signals for everything, check them out at Mapmyfitness: http://blog.mapmyrun.com/10-cycling-hand-signals-need-know/
Your Voice Is Important
Know Your Place On The Streets
This is what to expect from the bike lanes. I have ridden in all 3 by now. The diagram on the right can have a solid line between the car and cyclist or not.
Protect Yourself And Your Noggin
A bike helmet (or brain bucket) is your best friend for protection in case something goes wrong. Make sure you buy a good one and that it fits correctly. Most sports stores or bike shops will be glad to help you.
Of course, you want to have your bike checked out once a year (more often if you notice problems) to make sure it’s in tip-top condition on the road. Happy cycling!
Know the rules, be polite, ride safe and stay safe.