Sep 272010
 
Authors: Justin Rampy

Fort Collins is advertised as a bicycle-friendly city, where there are adequate bike lanes and the cars on the road watch out for cyclists and keep them safe.

However, there have been significant number of bike-related accidents in Fort Collins, 42 on CSU’s campus alone since 2006.

Joy Childress, from CSU’s Bicycle Education and Enforcement Program, BEEP, said the most important thing to remember is to act as a vehicle when riding a bike on the road.

According to Colorado law, a bicycle is a vehicle and has the same rules and responsibilities as a motor vehicle.

Childress said the most important street law to follow is always stopping at stop signs, bearing in mind most accidents involving bikes and cars have to do with running through one.“If you’re going to listen to an iPod while riding, listen at an acceptable level,” Childress said.

Riders should stay within the bike lanes, ride with the flow of traffic and use directional signals, she said.

Childress said that rules go both ways.

There are also laws for motor vehicles designed to keep drivers out of an accident with bicyclists, like staying out of bike lanes, allowing three feet of distance between the vehicle and the bike and refraining from honking.

Every person living in Fort Collins, Childress said, should be aware of the rules and regulations.

Avid bike enthusiast Chris Holt, 19, rides his bike on Fort Collins streets almost every day of the week and said he’s had several close encounters with vehicles backing out of driveways or crossing over bike lanes.

He’s never been in an accident, but he easily could be if he wasn’t paying attention to his surroundings while riding.

“Fort Collins has done a good job setting up bike lanes and giving bikers enough room on the road. But there are always those drivers out there that aren’t watching out for you,” Holt said.

His one word of advice for Fort Collins bicyclists: Keep an eye out for people who aren’t keeping an eye out for you.

For driver Trevor Abeyta, the frustration goes both ways.

Bicyclists, Abeyta said, are much more likely to cut you off, run stop signs and ride in undesignated lanes on the roads through CSU’s campus.

Bike laws on campus, Childress said, are no different than on the road and a cyclist can get still get ticketed.

Abeyta said he once saw a bicyclist weaving in and out of the bike lane on Laurel Street and the biker could have potentially caused an accident.

“I was just careful when I passed him because I knew he wasn’t going to look out for me or himself,” he said.

There are always going to be bicyclists in Fort Collins as well as cars on the road and the only way to keep accidents from happening is to, in every instance, err on the side of caution, Childress said.

“Remember to ride and drive safely and avoid unnecessary accidents,” she added.

Staff writer Justin Rampy can be reached at news@collegian.com.

 Posted by at 5:29 pm

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