PLAY IT SAFE: Quick check can make biking safer
Pleasant summer weather means there will be a lot more bicyclists out and about town and the potential for bicycling accidents go up. A lot of accidents, though, can be prevented, according to Pat White, co-owner of The Ski and Bike Shop in Grand...
Pleasant summer weather means there will be a lot more bicyclists out and about town and the potential for bicycling accidents go up.
A lot of accidents, though, can be prevented, according to Pat White, co-owner of The Ski and Bike Shop in Grand Forks. "The big thing right now is to use common sense."
Before hopping on your bike, it's important to make sure the bike is working properly, he said.
White recommends doing the ABC Quick check:
• Air: Push down on the bike tires to make sure they are full. If they're low, fill them up at a local gas station or bike shop. The recommended tire pressure should be listed on the side of the tire.
• Brakes: Test the front and back brakes to make sure they are both working properly.
• Cranks: Check the cranks or pedals to make sure they are secure.
• Quick releases: Ensure the quick releases on the hubs and seat of the bike are tight but not too tight.
Do a test run in a parking lot, White said. "Then, lift your bike up 2 inches off the ground and drop it. See what funky noises it makes or what falls off your bike."
If something isn't setting right, have it checked.
Once your bike is in good riding condition, throw on a helmet and hit the road or bike path. If you're planning a long ride, bring a bottle of water with you.
"Follow the rules of the road," White said.
Bike on the right side of the street and use hand signals to indicate which direction you're turning.
Lights are also important. Whether you are biking in the morning or at night, lights will help drivers, pedestrians and other bikers see you coming.
"Have some kind of light system such as a taillight," White said. If a driver is blinded driving into the sun, they will still be able to see the light.
White said it's OK to bike at night if your bike is equipped with the right lights. He said there are two different types of lights -- lights to be seen and lights that let you see. Both are necessary for night riding.
"As much as it's looking out for yourself, it's looking out for others, too," he said.
Reach Maki at (701) 780-1122, (800)477-6572, ext. 1122; or firstname.lastname@example.org .
Looking to do more riding?
The Grand Forks area is crisscrossed by several bicycle-friendly trails. The most well-known are the trails on the Greenway, but there are also many trails and routes that will take you from downtown to the edge of town. Look for maps and, in the future, riding events at Bikingtheforks.com, a new website by the city of Grand Forks.
-- Herald staff report