manners. Reminiscent of the days filled with reminders to ask politely and graciously thank, we found ourselves wondering – is there such a thing as bicycle etiquette? After many conversations, a bit of research, and a few memorable bike lane run-ins, we discovered that bike etiquette does indeed exist.
How can the average Chico velophile cycle with more decorum? Fear not, for we have come up with the Seven Steps of Highly Effective Cycling, so you can be the fairytale pedal pusher you’ve always wanted to be!
1. Go With The Flow
We get it, sometimes it’s easy to slink by on the wrong side of the road to get to where you’re going and we’re occasionally guilty too. We’ve come to a mutual realization that every time you ride loops up the wrong side of the street, you are putting yourself and others around you at risk. This isn’t Great Britain; here in America we drive and ride on the right side of the road. Pun intended.
2.Don’t Hog The Bike Lane
We both grew up with siblings, hearing “sharing is caring” chanted around our homes like battle cries. Well, that little rhyme applies to adults as well, especially in the bike lane. The proper positioning is on the left hand side of the lane. Riding further left in a bike lane keeps you out of harm’s way, be it opening car doors or vehicles beginning to pull out of a curbside parking spot and into the lane. You are also in a better position to pass fellow cyclists.
3. Pass Politely
We all ride at different speeds, some of us attempting to set land speed records, others smelling roses and taking in the sights – but no matter the pace, at one point or another we’ve all needed to pass someone. When passing, make sure you let your fellow road warrior know that you plan to pass or are in the process of making your way around them. When you do, ALWAYS PASS ON THE LEFT, even if it means you have to creep into the traffic lane.
4.Slow Your Roll
Trust us, this is a hard pill to swallow. Riding too fast for the traffic around you is risky business. We hate to sound redundant, but when you ride faster than is universally safe for everyone out on the roads, you are putting yourself and others in danger.
Bikes should not be on the sidewalk. Not even for a quarter of a block. Please don’t be the d-bag who gets yelled at from storefronts or reprimanded by passersby. You, the girl on the big black cruiser who has made it a habit to ride on every sidewalk manageable downtown, you’re giving the rest of us on two wheels a bad name. Get off at the curb, walk your steed and don’t cause havoc on the sidewalks!
6. Always Yield to Pedestrians.
Susie Cagle said it best and it is a simple proposition. “Biking may in fact rule, but pedestrians are the real road royalty.”
7. Pay It Forward
Last Sunday we were touched by humanity’s grace. We had our bikes locked up downtown and when we came back to retrieve them someone had left us a random act of kindness! Delicately placed on both handlebars and seats were an assortment of flowers. Not only did we ride home with smiles, but we were both inspired by the yellow daisies to pay it forward. This is our seventh and most important step of highly effective cycling: do something nice for your fellow bike lover! Be it flowers on handlebars, stopping a bike thief, or helping someone change a flat, just do it. Let’s encourage these kind gestures and be generous with our head nods and hand waves. After all, a strong commonality is often the root of friendship.