FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Cyclists’ Safety Top Priority for Inaugural BikeMaine Ride
Hundreds of Cyclists to Traverse 400 Miles Between September 7 and 14
September 5, 2013, – Orono, ME – BikeMaine, a seven-day, 400-mile cycling celebration of Maine, will be riding through Penobscot, Waldo, and Hancock counties between September 7 and 14. Over 260 cyclists will travel the rural route and will cover 60-70 miles daily as they travel between the host communities of Orono, Dover-Foxcroft, Belfast, Castine, Bar Harbor (2 nights) and Camp Jordan (Ellsworth). With the increased number of cyclists riding on the roadways, encouraging safe driving AND riding behaviors are a top priority.
Kim True, BikeMaine Ride Director said, “The safety of our riders is the number one priority.” She continued, “Our team has been working for six months to identify potential dangerous locations and we’ll be working with local communities and law enforcement to educate their residents about where and when BikeMaine might impact their travel plans.”
The producer of the event, the Bicycle Coalition of Maine, is a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting the rights and safety of cyclists and pedestrians through advocacy and education. The Coalition regularly promotes safe riding and driving techniques, and BikeMaine will be no different. This focus is of particular importance during large events like BikeMaine, where hundreds of additional cyclists will be riding on area roadways. New laws and several major cycling incidents over the summer make reviewing the rules of the road for motorists and cyclists ever more important. Please see the attached addendum for an outline of both cyclist and motorist responsibilities when using the roadway.
Law enforcement will be involved in the cyclists’ training and monitoring the route as well. Lt. Husssey, of the Maine State Police, said, “If one cyclist or motorist makes a bad decision, the image of the whole group is sullied. Whether you are riding or driving, you can help protect everyone’s rights and safety by simply following the law.”
Those wishing to catch a glimpse of the inaugural BikeMaine ride making Maine history can watch cyclists pass through their communities each day. Detailed daily route maps are available at the BikeMaine website. Though participants will stretch out along the course, most riders will begin each day’s ride at about 8:00 AM and average 10 mph (including stops for pictures, shopping, sight-seeing, etc). By referencing the daily maps, spectators should get a good indication of when most riders will be in each community.
BikeMaine is proud to have the enthusiastic support of founding sponsors L.L.Bean and Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Maine.
BikeMaine is the latest and most ambitious undertaking of the Bicycle Coalition of Maine. In addition to promoting and celebrating safe cycling events and pedestrian initiatives, the Bicycle Coalition of Maine acts as the statewide voice of cyclists and a repository of bike-related information. Since 1992, the Bicycle Coalition of Maine has led the effort to make Maine better for bicycling by protecting the rights and safety of cyclists through education, advocacy, legislation and encouragement. The Coalition supports biking for health, transportation, recreation and fun.
For additional information on the BikeMaine 2013 route, detailed maps, host community descriptions, and responses to several Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) visit the BikeMaine website at ride.bikemaine.org.
Addendum – Rules of the Road
- By virtue of the number, size, and power of motorized vehicles, motorists carry a special responsibility for creating safety on the roads. Please be considerate of other users … it is terrifying and dangerous to a cyclist to be passed too fast or too closely.
- Remember that a car can be lethal to vulnerable users like bicyclists and walkers! Follow posted speed limits and obey traffic signs and lights. Avoid using cellphones and other electronic devices while driving.
- Remember that “Yield” means to slow down and wait for other vehicles. Motorists should anticipate other users, including walkers and bicyclists, on the roadways.
- Motorists should remember that bicyclists have a right to the road and should be treated like any other slow-moving traffic, such as farm tractors. Motorists should slow and stay behind such traffic until it is safe to pass.
- By Maine State law, bicyclists (and pedestrians) must be passed with at least 3 feet of space without endangering oncoming traffic. If you can’t give them at least 3 feet, you should slow down and wait for a safer place to pass.
- Cyclists share equal responsibility for sharing-the-road safety. The following are a few reminders of what you should expect from cyclists:
- By state law, bicyclists should ride with traffic, in the street, “as far to the right as practicable.” In most cases, that will put bicycles in the right-hand third of a travel lane, or on a shoulder if it is safe to use, but there are situations when taking more of the road may be necessary.
- Bikes may legally use more of a travel lane when passing parked cars, avoiding obstacles or when the lane is too narrow for a car and a bike to share. Even on roads where bicycle lanes exist, it may be necessary to move into the travel lane to avoid opened doors, parked cars or other obstacles.
- Riding on the sidewalks is not recommended for persons over the age of 12 and is illegal in some communities in Maine. If a cyclist must ride on the sidewalk, they must yield to pedestrians and alert them before passing.
- Passing cars on the right can be dangerous, but it is legal under state law at a cyclist’s own risk.
- Bicyclists should expect treatment no different from that of other users of the roads. Bicyclists should stop at all stop signs and red lights, and they should not go out of turn at intersections. A bicyclist’s actions should never force another user who had the right of way to have to stop.
- Wearing a helmet and following the law not only protects cyclists from crash injuries it is a requirement for all BikeMaine riders.
- Although bicyclists have every right to the road, they should be alert to and considerate of the entire traffic system when “driving” their cycles. Bicyclists have a right to the full travel lane in some cases, but they must be judicious of where and when to exercise this right.
- Cyclists stopping along the roadside should step completely off the pavement, respect private property, obey the principles of traffic law, and yield to pedestrians.