Conway Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Board

Bicycling Rules of the Road

Editor”s Note: The author, Jennifer Boyett, is an avid cyclist who formerly served on the City of Conway”s Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Board, and is a founding member of Conway Advocates for Bicycling. The following editorial

was orginally printed in the Log Cabin Democrat on January 4, 2010.

Riding a bicycle is something most of us learned to do as children, and

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although we haven’t forgotten how to ride, we often treat it as a pastime that we simply outgrew. You may have a bicycle with a dusty seat and flat tire in the garage that you can’t remember the last time you rode, but it’s time to dust it off, air up the tires and rediscover the smile that comes with pedaling a bike. The City of Conway is working to make our community one of the first in the state to be recognized as a bicycle-friendly community by the League of American Bicyclists. The City Council, with the support online casino of the mayor, established a Bicycle Advisory Board to help guide this process. A nonprofit bicycling advocacy group,

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Conway Advocates for Bicycling, has also been established to promote bicycling in the community. One of the ways our community can become bicycle friendly is by becoming educated about bicycling rules of the road. We often assume that because pedestrians use sidewalks or travel against the flow of motorists, we should do the same on a bicycle, but the opposite is true. State law requires that bicyclists accept the same rights and responsibilities as motorists. This means always bicycling with the flow of traffic on the right side of the street. Bicyclists are also required to obey all traffic signs, signals and lane markings. It is also important to stay off of sidewalks — in fact Conway has an ordinance that prohibits riding a bicycle on sidewalks in the downtown business district. I used to ride on the sidewalk because I was afraid motorists wouldn’t see me and I might get hit on the street. It is actually very safe to ride on the street as long as we obey traffic laws and ride in a predictable manner. In fact, according to the League of American Bicyclists, fewer than 3 percent of accidents occur because a motorist didn’t see a cyclist, while 14 percent of accidents are the result of bicyclists riding against the flow of traffic. You will be safest riding your bicycle on the street if you ride on the right in a straight line, don’t weave in and out of traffic and use hand signals to indicate your intention to turn, change lanes or stop. In an effort to further minimize the chance of being injured while cycling, you can take precautions such as wearing a helmet that fits comfortably and securely, avoiding dark-colored clothing that is difficult for motorists to see and leaving your earphones at home so you can hear what’s going on around you. Lights on your bicycle not only come in handy for increased visibility, they are required by law. All bicycles must be equipped with a white light visible from at least 500 feet on the front of their bike and a red light or reflector on the back. Consider these tips the next time you take your bike for a spin. When bicyclists follow the law and ride in a safe, predictable manner it creates a mutual respect between bicyclists and motorists and that will lead to Conway becoming a more bicycle-friendly community.

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