Posts Tagged ‘bike safety’
Thursday, September 8th, 2011
You put a lot of thought into keeping yourself safe while you’re biking – you wear a helmet, you wear reflective material so motorists can see you easily. But, do you think about how to keep your bike safe from theft?
Consider these five tips that can help you avoid filing a police report for a missing bike:
1. Carefully consider where you park and store your bike. Lock your bike anytime it’s not in use, even when it’s parked in your driveway or porch (if you can, keep it stored inside at home, when possible). If you’re locking your bike in a public area, choose a well-lit, high-traffic spot. Secure your bike to a large, stationary object; remember, chain-link fences can be easily cut through. And always take easily removable accessories, such as lights, with you. If you’re a bike commuter, the City of Minneapolis and City of Saint Paul also have great resources and maps for bike racks and lockers to stow your bike safely.
2. Buy a U-lock. Why? Because the U-lock is the best single lock to use, if you lock your bike properly. For even more protection, use both a U-lock and a chain or cable that’s at least 3/8-inch thick. Visit the Bike Walk Twin Cities site for more about the different kinds of bike locks.
3. Learn how to lock your bike. For maximum security, try removing the front wheel of your bike and fastening the U-lock around it, the back wheel, the seat tube, and the object you’re locking your bike to. If you don’t want to remove the front wheel, fasten the U-lock through it, your tube, and the stationary object. Then, wrap a cable or chain through both the front and back tires, as well as the U-lock. For detailed instructions and diagrams, check out the Bike Minneapolis’ Downtown Biking Guide slideshow (see page 8).
4. Lock size matters. Don’t use a lock that’s longer than you need; any extra space is just more room for a thief to maneuver and gain leverage. Try a few configurations to determine which setup leaves the least amount of slack. Avoid letting the lock rest on the ground or a wall, too; a thief could use those surfaces to smash the lock with a hammer.
5. Register your bike. In the case that your bike is stolen, having the serial number registered can help track it if the culprit tries to sell it. The National Bike Registry offers several types of registration at various prices. Also, write down the serial number, make, and model and keep the information in a safe place, along with a few photos of the bike.
Worst-case scenario, follow these guidelines from the City of Minneapolis to report a bike theft in Minneapolis. If the crime occurred in Saint Paul, call 651-291-1111 to report it.
What other tips do you have to prevent bike theft?
Monday, August 1st, 2011
My name is Amber Collett. I am a woman and an avid bicyclist. I work for Bike Walk Twin Cities, the organization that sponsors and manages this blog and site, dedicated to enhancing bicycling in the Twin Cities. I wanted to take a moment today to talk about an important topic: Bike safety for women.
Why is that important? Because, given recent reports, only 26 percent of all U.S. bicyclists are women. (Note: here in Minneapolis/St. Paul, that number is higher—between 31-45 percent; perhaps a result of the 70-plus miles of new bikeways and ample bike parking we have here in the Twin Cities!)
Still, these percentages of women bicyclists are low compared with other nations. For instance, in the Netherlands, 55 percent of all bicyclists are women; in Germany, it’s 49 percent.
So, only about one in four U.S. bicyclists are women. That number has many people, concerned—and in some cases, confused about why. But, it shouldn’t, because there is one key issue that keeps bubbling up time and again in reports about women bicycling: personal safety.
For women, safety is top of mind when it comes to bicycling. Is it safe to ride after dark? Should I be concerned about bicycling on busy city streets? What are the safest routes if I want to bike to work? These are all common questions. I know, because I’ve had them—and I continue to hear them from my family and friends.
But I’m here to tell you there are a handful of simple steps you can take to lessen or even eliminate these safety concerns:
Know how to take care of your bike
Take the “what if my bike breaks down” question out of play. Learn how to make the basic fixes to your bike—repairing a flat being the biggie. Locally, there are a number of options for learning basic bike mechanics. My favorite: The Sibley Bike Depot. They’ve set aside every Tuesday evening as Women Open Shop Night. That means you can drop in and learn from the (approachable) experts about how to take care of your bike.
Stay on the major thoroughfares
With bike boulevards like the Riverlake Greenway and bike lanes like the ones down Portland and Park Avenues in south Minneapolis, cars are used to seeing bikes in traffic. Plus, by staying on the main bikeways, you’ll lessen your chances of becoming isolated and putting yourself in positions where you’re the only one on the road.
Ride in groups—when possible
If you’re commuting, ride with a colleague. It not only makes for safer cycling, but it can also be a great way to connect with and get to know friends and co-workers. On the weekends, ride with a friend or a family member. I’ve even had friends visiting from out of town get short-term Nice Ride subscriptions. Again, what a great way to explore the city!
Pack the essentials
After you’ve learned a bit more about how to take care of your bike, consider investing in and carrying the bicycling essentials. That means a tire pump, a spare tube and, a patch kit. What if you forget these items? No worries. Those in south Minneapolis now have the first-ever bicycling vending machine. Named the Bike Fixtation, this “kiosk” (located in the Uptown Transit Station) carries a host of products cyclists may need in a pinch. What’s more, it also includes a bike stand—and more importantly for beginners and intermediate cyclists, an air pump. Free air! What could be better than free air for a bike commuter?
Visibility is a major concern when riding at night (or at dawn/dusk and in the rain). Before you head out, be sure to check your front and rear lights. The front light should be a constant white stream and the back light should be a blinking red light –you’ll also want a red rear reflector. Carry extra batteries or a spare headlamp in case yours breaks down. Also, seems obvious, but be sure to wear light or reflective clothing when riding. See and be seen!
Those are my thoughts. What tips do you have for women bicyclists staying safe on the road?
The following is a post written by Hilary Reeves, communications director, Bike Walk Twin Cities, that originally ran in the Downtown Journal. Now that Nice Ride bikes are tucked away for the winter, consider using the bus for your quick trips to lunch, meetings, doctor’s appointments, or shopping. Using Metro Transit is an ideal way
The following is a post written by Bri Whitcraft, Special Projects Coordinator, Bike Walk Twin Cities. It all started with a video as inspiration and a Tweet as declaration. (My mom thought it was a joke.) Map & Route From my home in South Minneapolis, I biked to St. Paul to borrow the trailer from
The following is a post written by Hilary Reeves, communications director, Bike Walk Twin Cities, that originally ran in the Southwest Journal. Practical, affordable and surprisingly rewarding, winter bicycling has become increasingly popular in Minneapolis, recently named one of the top five cities in the nation for winter bicycle commuting by MetaEfficient. That’s amazing when