May is officially Bike Month here in El Paso, as proclaimed by Mayor Cook on May 3, 2013. This year’s events were very exciting and successful and we hope the momentum continues next year. Check www.elpasobikemonth.com early in 2014 to learn how you can help and participate in Bike Month.
Why use a bike instead of your car?
Here are five great reasons why you should break your old bike out of storage:
- Benefit from a little exercise—improves cardiovascular health!
- Spend less time driving and fighting traffic, which is especially worse during morning and lunch hours
- Help reduce the amount of cars on the road, which means fewer CO2 emissions, better air quality, and less congestion
- Put less mileage and wear-and-tear on your car
- Help us promote a bike culture in El Paso—supporting alternative transportation and a healthy lifestyle!
- WEAR YOUR HELMET! Nearly 75-80 percent of cyclists killed or permanently disabled involve head or neck injuries. Note for City Employees: All city employees are required to wear their helmet when riding a bicycle.
- Watch out for people opening car doors when you pass a parked motor vehicle.
- When riding on sidewalks reduce your speed and exercise caution.
- Be on the lookout for and avoid the following road surface hazards, such as loose sand, rocks, glass and debris, etc.
- Bicyclists should use hand signals to signal their intent to stop, turn left or turn right. Remember that a bicycle is considered a vehicle by Texas State Law, so you must comply with all traffic rules, use audible signals when passing, and ride with the direction of traffic. The bicyclist should use the following signals:
- Stop — Extend the left hand and arm downward.
- Left turn — Extend the left hand and arm horizontally.
- Right turn — Extend the left hand and arm upward, or extend the right hand and arm horizontally.
- If you are passing a cyclist, please allow for at least three feet of space between you and the cyclist. Many states have adopted Safe Passing Laws, which “seek to ensure that, when passing bicycles, motor vehicles allow adequate space to avoid sideswiping bicyclists or causing them to overcorrect to avoid a vehicle” (National Conference of State Legislatures). Washington State offers a little more information about the “Give three feet” law here: http://www.cbcef.org/give3feet/three-feet-law.html
For more information about bicycle safety and road laws, please see TTI’s Texas Road Laws for Bicycles and TxDOT’s FAQs Concerning Bicycles, Pedestrians and the Law.
A bike master plan, complete with more bike infrastructure, is currently in the planning process. Please check back for updates. For more information about how to request more bike lanes in a certain area, or to have certain lanes be swept or repaired, please click here: http://home.elpasotexas.gov/epdot/faq.php
The City has several lockers with over twenty bikes available for City Employees to check out and use at the Municipal Service Center and also downtown to go to lunch or meetings. These are regularly used and help reduce vehicle miles traveled, promoting better air quality in our city.
A bike share program has been proposed by the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO), in partnership with the City and the Regional Mobility Authority. The proposal is currently in its earliest stages of funding approval and planning.
The MPO will have charrettes to involve the public in the planning process for the bike share program, so please check back here for meeting updates!
Bicycle Groups in El Paso
Borderland Mountain Bike Association - http://bmba.wordpress.com
EP Cyclists - The bicycle group offers rides for all levels Saturdays and Sundays mornings, starting from the East Side. Two rides are offered: one for beginners, pace and distance depending on riders; and one for intermediates and advanced, usually 40 to 60 miles at 18 to 20 mph. Starting times and locations are posted at www.facebook.com/epcyclist. For more information: Manny Valadez, 861-2311 or epcyclists.com.
El Paso Bicycle Club - The El Paso Bicycle Club is a group of recreational road cyclists with a focus on excercise and fun. For more information, please view their website: http://www.elpasobicycleclub.com
Velo Paso Bicycle-Pedestrian Coalition - http://www.velopaso.org