Bicycle Month celebrates bicycling, cautions riders

As the spring weather rolls in, so does the newly minted Bike Month, beginning today, May 1. A group called We Bike Eugene is hosting over 30 bike rides and events around the city this month. Today, the city is holding an open house to discuss Eugene’s future Bike Share program, …

As the spring weather rolls in, so does the newly minted Bike Month, beginning today, May 1. A group called We Bike Eugene is hosting over 30 bike rides and events around the city this month.

Today, the city is holding an open house to discuss Eugene’s future Bike Share program, similar to Portland’s BIKETOWN bike rental project, in which people can pick up and drop off community bikes for a low cost at different locations around Portland. The city will make 300 bikes available to rent over your mobile device.

The open house is today from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. at 44 W. Broadway. It allows citizens to give input, such as possible kiosk locations for the city’s bike program. The City of Eugene partnered with the University of Oregon and Lane Transit District and expects to launch in October 2017, according to a Register-Guard article.

Learn more about the Bike Share program here.

The UO Bike Program is also hosting workshops, such as Wheel Building 101 on May 8 and Mountain Biking 101 on May 16.

Here is a full list of events during Bike Month.

More bikes means more accidents

Better weather means University of Oregon students are more likely to pull out their bikes. But with more cyclists on the road, the risk for collisions increases.

According to the University of Oregon Police Department, the number of reported bicycle accidents are not an “eye-popping” number, but the risk of a collision should always be taken into account.

To take preventative measures, UOPD offers information and tools to ensure student safety as they travel to and from class, and may even give students a well-intentioned warning if certain road behavior is considered unsafe.  

UOPD spokesman Kelly McIver and Police Officer Jared Davis both agree that one of the most important elements of safe cycling is the use of a helmet.

“Not everybody likes them,” said McIver. “They can mash your hair down, but it’s honestly a lifesaver if you’re ever struck or fall off your bike for any reason.”

UO student Alex Tushner can attest to the importance of helmets because his choice to protect his head allowed him to walk away from a bicycle accident with much less severe injuries than he would have had otherwise.  

During Winter term of his sophomore year, Tushner was rushing across campus on his way to work on his bike when he collided with an inattentive cyclist. The impact caused him to flip off his bike, straight onto his head. When Tushner recovered from the impact, his helmet was cracked and broken, but he was able to walk away without major head injuries. The other cyclist biked away from the scene.

“After that moment, even if I’m riding a block down to a friend’s house, [the helmet] is on,” Tushner said. “I’m not taking a risk.”

In addition to personal safety, UOPD stresses that cyclists should also take into account the interaction with others on the road.

According to UOPD, it’s crucial to be aware of one’s surroundings as a cyclist sharing the road with other bikes, vehicles and pedestrians. To safely contribute to traffic, a cyclist should use proper hand signals, communicate with others and avoid unpredictable or hasty moves to prevent accidents.

“The density of bicycles, cars and pedestrians in the core campus area are such that it’s a constant safety risk,”  said McIver from UOPD. “We have probably lots and lots of near misses every day.”

For more information on bike safety and security, visit UOPD’s website at police.uoregon.edu, and for information on laws and regulations related to cycling, visit Eugene’s government website at eugene-or.gov/2312/Bicycling.


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