Bicycles offer lifetime lessons, simple pleasures and new optimism for humanity. Those are the observations of three personalities quoted in Idaho’s new bicycle safety manual "Idaho Bicycling Street Smarts." Consider:
Those words of encouragement and a wealth of information about bicycling safely in Idaho are included in the 48-page publication released collaboratively by the Ada County Highway District and the Idaho Transportation Department.
ITD’s Bicycle Coordinator, the ACHD Bicycle Advisory Committee, and several cycling advocates around the state collaboratively revised and customized a general bicycle safety manual, “Bicycling Street Smarts,” published by Bicycling Magazine and Rodale, Inc.
Idaho Bicycling Street Smarts is now available to bicycle riders throughout Idaho.
In addition to 10 chapters on safe operating tips, the Idaho-specific manual includes a message to bicyclists and all of Idaho’s bicycling laws.
“Whether you are new to bicycling or are a seasoned veteran, this manual provides excellent information that will help you become an even better cyclist,” said Mark McNeese, ITD's Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator
“Following its guidelines will help cyclists ride safer and get more enjoyment out of their travels, both within urbanized areas and on rural highways and roads. I highly recommend it for both bicyclists and the motoring public as a way of helping them learn how to safely share the road.”
“Most bicycle trips require you to ride on the roads,” according to the manual.
“However, some roads weren’t designed and built with cyclists in mind. This shouldn’t deter you from using them when alternative routes may add unwanted time or distance to your trip,” according to an introductory message.
“Bicycling adds valuable physical activity to your daily routine, and for short to moderate distances doesn’t take much more time than driving a car.”
The manual points out that exchanging a 30-minute bicycle ride for a 20-minute car trip sacrifices little time but provides the added benefit of 30 minutes of exercise. It also reduces congestion, conserves fuel and saves money.
In 2005, Ada County became the first region in Idaho to achieve the designation of Bicycle Friendly Community from the League of American Bicyclists. The bronze designation puts Ada County in the same company as Ashland, Beaverton and Bend, Oregon; Redmond and Vancouver, Washington; Albuquerque, New Mexico; Denver, Colorado; Orlando, Florida and 27 other communities throughout the country.
Idaho laws related to bicycle riding include clinging to or following vehicles, riding positions on a highway, riding two abreast, stopping and turning at stop signals, carrying articles while riding, riding on sidewalks, racing, lights and reflectors and other regulations included in Title 49, Chapter 7 of Idaho Code.
For example, bicycle riders approaching a stop sign must slow to a reasonably safe speed or, if necessary, stop, yield the appropriate right-of-way to other vehicles at the intersection, and then proceed. They are not required to stop if it is safe to proceed after slowing. When approaching a red light, riders must stop first and then can proceed through the red light after yielding to motorized traffic if it is safe to do so.
Under Idaho law, bicycle riders are accorded the same rights and have the same responsibilities as other vehicles except where noted in Idaho Code.
For copies of "Idaho Bicycling Street Smarts," contact ITD Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator Mark McNeese at (208) 334-8272 or write to firstname.lastname@example.org . Copies also are available from John Wasson, Assistant Traffic Engineer, at ACHD, (208) 387-6140, email@example.com