Bicycles spotlighted in run-up to Ride to Work Week, Day

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

This year, like every year, we're running plenty of stories about Bicycle Rodeos and other efforts to teach kids how to stay safe on their bicycles. A local State Farm Insurance agency has headed up the effort for years, joined by local law enforcement and donated helmets -- the Community Hospital Health Foundation and McCook Clinic provided funding for the headgear this year.

It's a worthwhile, important effort, and no doubt many accidents are avoided as a result.

Bicycles need to follow the rules of the road like any other vehicle, but the safest rider in the world is still in danger if cars and trucks don't give them the room they need.

That's the reasoning behind a new state law that requires motorists to give bicyclists at least 3 feet of room when passing. Three feet doesn't seem like much, but it's enough to keep from clipping a rider with your mirror.

Slowly but surely, Nebraska is becoming more bicycle friendly, with converted railroads lines like the Cowboy Trail in northern Nebraska or around Lincoln. McCook is headed that way as well, with a new hike-bike trail under construction.

The Nebraska Department of Roads has issued a new state bicycle map, modeled after last year's newly issued state highway map but tailored to meet the needs of bicyclists.

It features the statewide highway system, color coded by traffic volume with surfaced shoulder width information. Towns with multi-use trails (separate bicycle-pedestrian paths) are noted, with multi-use trails at east five miles long shown directly on the map.

It also includes detailed maps on 13 Nebraska cities over 10,000 population, a list of Nebraska State Park Areas and Nebraska's Natural Resources Districts. Bicycle safety tips, including a Nebraska bicycle law summary, are also provided. Bicyclists are allowed to use all of Nebraska's highways, except interstates and freeways.

There's also a special opportunity to learn more about bicycling, and skateboarding, at a show sponsored by the Sapphire Bike Club, 1-4 p.m. Saturday in Norris Park. You'll have a chance to have your bicycle checked out, how to do some of your own maintenance and get a discount on parts and repair. You might even win a boys or girls 20-inch bike.

Participants include Sehnert's, Home Spun, Subway, McCook Cycling Club, McCook Toy Box, Tinker Tom's, Walmart, Linda Maiden Insurance, McCook Police Department, Fit So Fly of Indianola and the Solo Soul Motorcycle Club. Bring a canned food item for the McCook Pantry and you might win an ATK skateboard deck or a pair of Bullet skateboard trucks donated by Tinker Tom's, with custom paining of the skateboard deck by Jeff and Ginny from the Twisted Image Tattoo Shop.

There will also be music in the bandshell from 12:30 to 3:30 featuring Logan Vrbas and Christian Olson of DGA -- Dirty Garage Band; Taylor Williams with alternative rock, Brandon Anderson hard rock, and Joe McCarty with country guitar.

Saturday's events are designed to promote Ride to Work Week May 14-18, and Ride to Work Day, May 18.

But we have a feeling that once more people learn about bicycling and connect with other enthusiasts, every day may wind up being Ride to Work Day.

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