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Bicycle Ambassador Program

Be extra careful while riding during construction season

There are two seasons in Colorado: winter and construction.

Warmer temperatures mean construction is ramped up, helping crews take advantage of the favorable weather and longer days to make improvements to our beautiful city.

The warmer season is also a great time to be on your bike. While city staff do their best to maintain safe, convenient alternative routes to navigate around construction sites, it can still be challenging to get around the city when there are multiple closures.

Here are a few tips for making your bike travels more predictable and for keeping yourself safe during construction season.

There are several resources that you can use to prepare in advance to help you maintain your cycling routine, or even give you the confidence to start making some trips by bike, even during construction season.

FC Trip is a handy mapping tool that will show you where construction projects and related road closures are happening or are scheduled. You can view them as an interactive map or as a sortable list. You can even get a sense of what improvements are being made along your bike route.

Connect with FC Trip via Twitter for immediate updates. Follow @fortcollinsgov and search posts with #fctrip.

Several bike-related events and classes are also planned during the warmer months that may help you build confidence to navigate the city on two wheels. One such event is the city’s 28th annual Bike to Work Day on June 24. This celebration of cycling is a great way to try riding to work while enjoying free breakfast at one or two of the 40 different breakfast stations throughout the city.

In addition, this year’s Bike to Work Day will mark the release of a new Fort Collins bike map. The new map highlights routes that are considered more comfortable, or lower-stress, for riding a bike. Look for the new maps at the breakfast stations on Bike to Work Day or check fcgov.com/fcbikes for an online version of the map.

Another great way to build your confidence to use your bike as a transportation method is to attend a Traffic Skills 101 course offered by the FC Bikes Bicycle Ambassador Program. The eight-hour course will provide you with knowledge and bike-handling skills to navigate a number of scenarios on city streets. The next course will be held July 18. You can register for the class through the city’s Recreator (webtrac.fcgov.com).

Even with adequate preparation, you may encounter construction zones either on bike or in your car. Following are a few tips to help everyone get through one more construction season a little safer:

• Always scan before you signal a turn or lane change. People on bikes and motorcycles are more common now than during winter, so double-check before making sudden moves.

• Avoid riding or driving through construction sites. Orange cones, yellow tape and other traffic controllers are intended to keep people away from hazards.

• Share the road. If you drive a car, give space to people on bikes. Remember, you must give a person on a bike 3 feet to pass. If you’re on a bike, when it is necessary you should control the travel lane by scanning, signaling and riding in the middle of the road. This legal maneuver may slow traffic, but during construction season, we should all slow down to keep our neighbors safe.

Construction season may feel long, but with patience the construction will bring us better places to bike, drive, live and play.

Nick Heimann, MPH, is a member of the Bicycle and Pedestrian Education Coalition and is FC Bikes Program Intern.

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