Kayaking, rock climbing, ultimate Frisbee and biking…It’s pretty clear that the people of the Northwest love their sports. On Saturday, the WALLY team reveled in this NW love by celebrating with many NW Action Figures who participated in the Stinky Spokes Poker Bike Ride.
What sets the Stinky Spokes Poker Ride apart from all others is that this ride is intended for the most extreme riders. Not only is the race purposely held on what is historically recognized as the worst day of the year to cycle, but it also includes a beast of a hill, named “Heart Attack Hill,” in the 18 mile course. Although the sun was shining, riders still had to endure literally freezing temperatures.
As terrifying (and exhilarating) as the race sounds, it was a great learning experience for us to hear from the bikers the best tips for keeping safe while biking. Some of our favorites included “tricking” out your bike and helmet with mirrors, making sure your bike is always in tip-top shape, and wearing bright, highly visible clothing.
We realize that some NW Action Figures enjoy mountain biking, while others prefer road biking, so here are WSDOT’s top safety tips for biking in traffic:
- Obey traffic signs and signals: Bicycles must follow the rules of the road like other vehicles.
- Never ride against traffic: Motorists aren't looking for bicyclists riding on the wrong side of the road. State law and common sense require that bicyclists drive like other vehicles.
- Follow lane markings: Don't turn left from the right lane. Don't go straight in a lane marked “right-turn only.”
- Don’t pass on the right: Motorists may not look for or see a bicycle passing on the right.
- Wear a helmet and never ride with headphones: Always wear a helmet. Never wear a headphone while riding a bike.
- Use hand signals: Hand signals tell motorists and pedestrians what you intend to do. Signal as a matter of law, of courtesy, and of self-protection.
- Choose the best way to turn left, there are two choices:
- Like an auto: signal to move into the left turn lane and then turn left
- Like a pedestrian: ride straight to the far side crosswalk. Walk your bike across.
- Make eye contact with drivers: Assume that other drivers don't see you until you are sure that they do. Eye contact is important with any driver which might pose a threat to your safety.
- Look out for road hazards: Watch out for parallel-slat sewer grates, gravel, ice, sand or debris. Cross railroad tracks at right angles.
- Use lights at night: The law requires a white headlight (visible from at least 500 feet ahead) and a rear reflector or taillight (visible up to 300 feet from behind)
Whether you prefer mountain biking, road biking, or a different Northwest sport, stay safe!