This column appears in the Nevada Appeal’s Tuesday health pages. It addresses topics related to the health of our community.
Now is the time to get your bike out of the garage, pump up those tires, and make sure everything is in good working order, because summer is here, and it’s the perfect time to ride in Carson City! Bicycling has a lot of health benefits, including increased cardiovascular fitness, increased muscle strength, improved joint mobility, and decreased stress levels. Biking also benefits communities by decreasing air pollution, promoting tourism, and helping the economy. The best part: it’s a lot of fun!
Whether you prefer to ride the roads or are looking to get a little dirt on your tires, Carson City has plenty to offer for any level of cyclist. The recently-remodeled downtown corridor now incorporates bike lanes on Carson Street, and the trails around Carson City are being rehabilitated following a very hard winter.
For those who wonder where the best routes are to get around town, local nonprofit Muscle Powered has produced bicycle maps of our community which are available every Saturday at the 3rd & Curry St. Farmers Market, at Carson City Parks and Recreation, and online at MusclePowered.org. The maps can help with route planning, and highlight off-street paths in addition to bike lanes and shared streets.
It’s important to be safe when you ride, so bicyclists should follow these safety tips when riding in traffic:
Before you ride, make sure your bicycle is in good working order. Check your ABC’s: Air in your tires, Brakes working, Chain clean and lubed.
Ride with the flow of traffic, not against it. Ride as far to the right as practicable, and stay single file.
Be predictable. Stay in your lane, don’t dart through intersections, obey traffic signs and signals, and use hand signals to let other road users know when you’re turning. As a general rule, bikes should follow the same traffic rules as cars.
Make sure you have the proper safety equipment, which includes a front and red rear reflector if riding after dark, according to Nevada law. Even though it is not required by law, a properly fitting helmet is always a good idea. Helmets are available at Carson City Health and Human Services.
Be visible. Wear bright colors and reflective clothing. Stop at intersections, look left, right, left, and make eye contact with oncoming traffic to ensure that drivers see you.
Stay alert. Always be aware of your surroundings. Avoid being distracted by electronic devices, just as you would if you were driving a motor vehicle.
Automobile drivers also have a responsibility to share the road with bicycles. Allow at least three feet of space when passing a bicyclist, and make sure to check for cyclists and pedestrians, especially if you’re making a turn.
For information about bicycling in Carson City, check out www.musclepowered.org. To learn more about Epic Rides and the upcoming Carson City Off-Road, check out EpicRides.com. To check out other Health Department services, visit our website at www.gethealthycarsoncity.org or follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/cchhs.