Seeking Safety While Cycling in Reno
As Reno expands, more people are turning to cycling to get around town. Isaac Hoops reports on how local nonprofits and individuals, who have a focus on safety, advocate for safe riding, motorist education and working alongside city officials to establish new bike lanes and paths.
Where To Start?
We are lucky to have a number of great bike shops in Reno. From The Dropout located on Pine Street to College Cyclery on Virginia Street, there are many friendly bike techs who can help to get you going. Personally, I have a bias to the Reno Bike Project. They sell bicycles and parts at reasonable prices, and also offer many programs which help our community.
Whichever shop you land on, they will be able to help you get the gear you need to safely navigate the Reno area by bike. The first essential is a good helmet which fits you well. Accidents can happen fast. Although you may be confident in your ability, you do not know what other people on the road are doing– so protect your head. Next, if you plan to ever ride at night you will need both a front and back light. Contrary to popular belief, most drivers will give you room while you are riding. However, if someone can’t see you, you aren’t giving them the chance to respect your space.
Thanks to groups like the Truckee Meadows Bicycle Alliance who teamed up with Reno’s Regional Transportation Commission’s (RTC) there are a number of bike paths in Reno, and more on the way. When starting out, riding your bicycle on the streets alongside motor vehicles can be stressful. Luckily you can get to many places in our area by riding on designated bike paths. One of these paths runs east to west alongside the Truckee River. The river path will get you from the Verdi area to the edge of east Sparks. From this path near East Greg Street, you can transfer over to the Erica Greif Memorial Parkway to ride nearly six miles to South Meadows Parkway.
Taking It To The Streets
Here are some tips for once you are ready to take your cycling to the streets. Since the completion of the Virginia Street project in Midtown, both lanes going north to south have signs posted saying ‘bicycles may use full lane’. This section is a great place to start because it gives you the ability to use as much road as you need, it has a relatively flat surface and a slow speed limit.
When riding on the road you do need to follow the rules of the road. This means riding with the flow of traffic, not against it. You must stop for traffic lights and stop signs. Most importantly, know your surroundings. Be conscious of pedestrians, vehicles and other cyclists. Ensure at all times that if you need to react to a situation, you have enough room to safely do so.