April 4, 2020 Biking is wonderful physical exercise and a great way to get some outdoor activity. It may also be the best transportation option for people who are avoiding mass transit during the COVID-19 pandemic. It is an allowable outdoor activity under Stay at Home rules, but be sure to take steps to remain safe while cycling.
- It’s safest to ride alone or only with your immediate family members. The Pennsylvania Department of Health says not to host or attend gatherings, so group rides are to be avoided at this time.
- Social distancing suggests leaving at least 6 feet of space between you and other riders or people you pass along the way. Many experts recommend more spacing is advisable on a moving bike. Remember that this spacing applies when you are on and off the bike, so use social distancing at rest stops and at the start and finish of the ride as well.
- Ride from home if possible, or minimize the distance you drive to get to a safe place to bike, staying as close to home as possible.
- Be sure to to use lights, helmets, high visibility and reflective clothing plus other safety equipment. Vehicle traffic on the streets is significantly reduced under the Stay At Home order, but drivers still need to see you in order to avoid injuring you.
- Remember that the rules of the road still apply. Ride smart! Be seen! Be predictable! Be safe!
- Be cautious when using bike trails at this time. They are wonderful places to ride, but some are experiencing record levels of use that will put you in closer contact with more people. Trailheads may be crowded, and riders report a higher percentage of inexperienced riders than normal. Try to pick times and places that are less crowded.
- Because road traffic is very light during the Stay At Home order, now is an excellent time to become a bike commuter! Find some tips here: https://www.rydoze.com/bike-commuting/
- For tips on safe cycling, go to https://www.bikeleague.org/content/smart-cycling-tips-0
Bike Shops Are Open!
Biking is an important means of transportation, and therefore most bike shops are open for service, parts and repairs. Some can even offer bike sales. Hours may be reduced and special procedures for drop-off and pick up may be in place, so be sure to call your local bike shop before going there. Most non-profit bike shops like Recycle Bicycle Harrisburg and the Common Wheel in Lancaster are closed.
If you are going out, try to couple your visit with other essential trips and errands.
Local Bike Share operations remain closed indefinitely to help slow the spread of COVID-19
Stay healthy! Ride Safely!
Modern Multimodal Pathway or Great Wall of Harrisburg?
Aerial view of I-83 in Harrisburg from 19th Street to the Susquehanna River. A PennDOT proposal would double the width of this segment of the highway. Photo courtesy of PennDOT.
Bike Index Registration Can Help You Recover a Stolen Bike
Your chance of recovering your bike if it’s stolen are greatly increased if you register it. Bicycle South Central PA encourages the use of Bike Index, which can be used for free by anyone in any location. It’s wide reach is used by police departments, bike shops, and bike owners. Almost 100,000 bikes are registered on Bike Index and over 3,000 stolen bikes have been returned to their owners. All you need is your bike’s serial number, make, model number and a general description of your bike. A photo is recommended, too. The process is quick and easy. For more information, go to https://bikeindex.org.
Share the Road License Plate Now Available!
After nearly four years of effort by Bicycle Access Council, a Share-The-Road vehicle registration plate became official and made available on August 8. An order form is up on PennDOT’s website now—Form MV-917. The cost of the plate is $40. A personalized plate will add a fee of $100 in addition to the $40 plate cost. All details are included on the form, which can be found here.
Act 36 now allows PennDOT to issue this new plate for passenger vehicles and light trucks. PennDOT receives all revenue to be used for the central office position of the Bicycle/Pedestrian Coordinator and/or signage needed for bicycle projects. The final design was created by PennDOT with continuous input from BAC with the objective to expressly remind the public of the bicycle safety legislation passed in 2012 meant to give bicyclists a greater margin of safety on Pennsylvania roadways.
The intent of Act 36 includes several goals to benefit Pennsylvania bicyclists:
- Awareness to motorists that bicyclists are legitimate roadway users
- Passing a bicyclist requires not less than four-feet at a safe and reasonable speed Other provisions of Act 3 of 2012 will be promoted in media coverage
- Act 36 shall also be known as the Dave Bachman Act as a tribute and memorial to PennDOT’s first Bike/Ped Coordinator who passed away unexpectedly 2012.
Representative David Maloney (R-Berks) fought hard to get this passed, with many disappointing twists and turns in the legislative process before it was signed by the governor. Drafted by BAC and introduced by Representative Maloney in 2013, the bill started out as House Bill 1415, then had to be re-introduced as HB 150 when it failed to pass in the previous legislative session.
Tips for Teaching Children to Ride a Bike
Figuring out the best bike-friendly routes to take on your two wheels is one thing. But to take the whole family along for a ride, everyone needs a bike. And when it comes to kids bikes, there are lots and lots of options to consider.
For the newbie bicyclists in your household, a balance bike is one great option. It’s usually lacking brakes and pedals, all the more to build coordination and confidence in your littlest bicyclists. Once your kids graduate to pedal bikes, there will be more materials — aluminum versus steel to name one — to consider.
A couple of key measurements on your child as they relate to the bicycle will ensure a fit that’s comfortable and safe. Another safety must to get right? A helmet: If it doesn’t fit right it won’t be able to do its job, and that puts your child in danger.
As you map out your favorite bicycle route, use this graphic to ensure everyone in your house gets the bike that’s just right for them.
The infographic can be found here: https://www.fix.com/assets/content/19723/choose-right-bike-embed-small.jpg
and the companion article here: https://www.fix.com/blog/choose-the-right-bike-for-your-child/