By Staff Sgt. Alejandro Torres
50th Space Wing Safety
There are miles and miles of beautiful roadway here in the local area just waiting to be discovered, and what better way to explore them than on a bicycle. There is a large bicycling contingent in the state of Colorado. It is important to know some key tips as either a rider or driver to help keep everyone safe and share the road.
According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, the number of fatalities of non-motorized cyclists has decreased through the years, yet the percent of total fatalities has risen. It’s important for all road travelers to understand what is expected of them and how to stay safe.
Choosing the right bicycle for you and the appropriate gear may not be as easy as riding a bike. One easy choice for the safety-conscious rider, however, is choosing to wear a helmet. The fit should be snug, level and stable, covering your full head, with enough room to fit one finger between your chin strap and your chin. Always refer to the manufacturer’s instructions or ask a professional if you need help. In accordance with Air Force Instruction 91-207, The U.S. Air Force Traffic Safety Program, “All persons who ride a bicycle … on an Air Force installation in a traffic environment shall wear a properly fastened and approved (e.g., Consumer Product Safety Commission, ANSI, Snell Memorial Foundation or host nation equivalent) bicycle helmet.” This reference applies to all of Schriever, including base housing.
Maintaining your bicycle is just as important as maintaining your car. It is important to regularly check and maintain your bicycle so you may enjoy a safe ride every time you ride. An easy way to maintain your bike is to remember, A-B-C:
Air — Check your tires for proper inflation.
Brakes, bar and bell — Check your brakes for wear and functionality, make sure your handle bar is set to the appropriate height, and check your bell or horn to warn other cyclists or pedestrians around you.
Finally, chain and crank — Ensure the chain is secure and apply oil as needed.
Additionally, it is important to follow road rules and regulations, one of which is bicycle DUI. Cyclists can be cited for a driving under the influence on a bicycle in the state of Colorado. Also as users of the roads, it is imperative you follow and obey all traffic laws, including traffic signs and signals. You should ride along with traffic on the right hand side of the road, and drivers must provide a 3-foot clearance when passing. Also, be sure to use the appropriate hand signals for turning and stopping. Between sunset and sundown, you must have a headlamp or some form of lighting to ride on the roads.
Following the law, on both the cyclist and driver’s part, will help keep cyclists safe.
With the beautiful summer weather, it would be a travesty to not explore this beautiful state, especially on a bicycle. Even if you don’t fancy the two-wheeled persuasion, always keep in mind that the road belongs to all of us, whether two- or four-wheeled.
Stay safe, and share the road.