«Tis a privilege to live in the Ozarks Many of us think Springfield is the best place to live, work, and raise a family. Another reason to be happy ...»
Tis a privilege to live in the Ozarks
Many of us think Springfield is the best place to live, work, and raise a family.
Another reason to be happy you live here: It is easy to ride a bicycle as basic
transportation. We have flat terrain and a grid street system that makes bicycling
a smart option. Add to that a growing bicycle infrastructure including greenway
trails, The Link, and a bicycle route system. Springfield is poised to become a great American bicycling city. The city earned a bronze-level Bicycle Friendly City award from the League of American Bicyclists for 2011-2014. This booklet is dedicated to helping you enjoy traveling around Springfield on your bicycle.
2 Benefits Recent traffic studies have shown that half of all car trips made in the United States are less than two miles. And 28% of trips are less than one mile. These are
easy distances to travel by bicycle. The benefits are numerous and include:
• Saving money: Cars are expensive to own and operate, especially for short distances. Besides gas, also consider the cost of oil, wear and tear, and insurance. In 2009, the American Automobile Association estimated that owning and driving a car costs about $8,000 per year.
• Improving your health: Bicycling is a low-stress exercise that almost anyone can enjoy. Bicycling helps reduce stress and the chances for heart disease and stroke.
• Fighting pollution: Cars belch out the most pollution in the first few minutes of running.
• Getting in touch: Cars isolate you from the community and the natural world. Bicycling is a great way to connect with your neighborhood.
• Making life better: The more people use bicycles for short trips, the more these benefits help the entire community, for example: relieving parking and road congestion.
The 1-Mile Solution You might be thinking those benefits sound like a good deal but that riding a bicycle for basic transportation - called utility bicycling - seems difficult. The truth is that utility bicycling is far easier than many people think. You don't need a fancy bicycle. You don't need special clothes. You don't need lots of gear. All you need is a bicycle and an idea - an idea we call the 1-Mile Solution.
Here's how it works: Find your home on a map. Draw a circle with a 1-mile radius around your home.
Try to replace one car trip per week within that circle by riding a bicycle. At an easy riding pace you can travel one mile on a bicycle in about seven minutes. You can walk one mile in about 15 minutes. It’s that simple.
After seeing how easy that mile really is, you may be encouraged to replace more car trips per week or to venture farther from home. You may even wish to commute to work by bicycle. Turn the page and begin discovering for yourself the benefits of riding a bicycle in Springfield.
3 Bicycle Facilities Whether you want to ride a bicycle as basic transportation or enjoy the pleasures of recreation and exercise, Springfield offers facilities to make your ride safe, efficient, and enjoyable.
Bicycle Routes Streets that traffic engineers have determined to be suitable for bicyclists have been marked with bicycle route signs. These are streets that provide access to major destinations and continuity to travel across neighborhoods. Approximately 57 miles of streets are signed as bike routes.
Bicycle Paths Bicycle paths are provided on the campus of Missouri State University.
Shared Roadways Streets that have higher speeds and/or traffic volumes, but are used by experienced bicyclists, are marked with SHARE THE ROAD signs.
4 Multipurpose Trails The Springfield/Greene County Parks Department maintains off-street paths for use by non-motorized modes of travel, including bicycling, rollerblading, running, and walking. Signs indicate where multipurpose paths intersect with the street system.
The Link The Link is a bicycle and pedestrian route through Springfield’s core that connects greenway trails, neighborhoods, retail, services, employment, recreational activities, as well as connecting modes of transportation. The route is on streets with minimal vehicular traffic and 25 or 30 mph speed limits. The goal is to develop a system of shared-use on-street routes connecting greenway trails on which users experience safety and comfort.
5Rules of the Road: Same Roads, Same Rules, Same Rights!
Traffic statistics show that bicyclists who follow the rules ride safely with other traffic. Your chances of crashing, however, greatly increase when you break the rules. Following the rules of the road also shows respect for other people who use the road. Bicyclists who follow the rules make life on the street better for all of us.
1. The rights and duties of people operating bicycles on a roadway are the same as the rights and duties of the driver of any vehicle on the roadway.
2. Any person operating a bicycle shall obey the instructions of official traffic control signs, signals, and markings. When dismounted, the bicycle operator shall obey all rules for pedestrians.
3. A bicycle should only carry the number of people for which the bicycle is equipped with seats.
4. Bicycles must be operated as near to the right-hand side of the roadway as safe and no more than two abreast.
5. The bicyclist entering a roadway from an alley, driveway, or building shall yield to all traffic in the roadway and pedestrians in the roadway or on a sidewalk.
6. No person shall ride a bicycle on a sidewalk within a business district.
Whenever a person is riding a bicycle on a sidewalk, such person shall give an audible signal (such as stating "on your left") before overtaking and passing a pedestrian.
7. Each bicycle operated during darkness must be equipped with front lights rear reflectors. It is our opinion that bicycles should also be equipped with rear lights.
6 Bicycle Safety on the Streets Is bicycling on Springfield’s streets dangerous?
There is no easy way to answer that question. On the one hand, accident statistics show that bicycling is very safe compared to driving, walking, and many other things we do daily without thinking about safety. On the other hand, when a 4,000-pound car strikes a 40-pound bicycle, the bicycle loses every time. This doesn't mean bicycling is dangerous. It means you, the bicyclist, need to take responsibility for your safety. One thing, however, is clear: Bicyclists are safer when they follow traffic laws.
As a beginning utility bicyclist you may feel nervous about some streets. That shows a healthy respect for your own safety. The following section will teach you how to ride in traffic and avoid the dangers.
When we follow the rules and act responsibly, bicycling is one of the safest modes of transportation.
1. Protect yourself. Be noticed. Wear bright clothing. Use lights and reflectors on your person and bicycle in low light. Wear a bicycle helmet. Use your eyes and ears to detect traffic, trains, and warning signals.
2. Obey all traffic rules. Bicycles are not toys. They are legal vehicles. Those who operate them on city streets must obey the traffic laws. Stop at all stop signs and traffic lights. Yield to traffic according to the Missouri traffic code. Yield to pedestrians when appropriate.
3. Be predictable. Use the proper hand signals about 100 feet before making turns and stops.
8. Take the lane when appropriate. The law says bicyclists, as slower traffic, "shall ride as near to the right side of the roadway as safe." What is safe? The individual bicyclist decides. There are times when taking the lane is necessary for the safety of all traffic. For narrow lanes, a position four feet from the right edge of the lane will properly require drivers approaching from the rear to slow down to follow you until they can safely pass by crossing into the adjacent lane.
9. Stop at traffic signals and stop signs. Many traffic signals in Springfield have sensors in the pavement to indicate that a vehicle is waiting for the light to change. Many of these sensors are sensitive enough to detect a bicycle, but it is important to position yourself directly over the middle of the sensor. Missouri law allows bicyclists to proceed if, after a reasonable length of time, the sensor has failed to detect the bicycle and the light has failed to change.
10. Communicate with car drivers. Following the standard traffic rules for right-of-way generally means your intentions will be predictable, but do not assume. Make eye contact with car drivers. Nod, wave, and smile as necessary to let car drivers know you intend to follow the rules.
9 The Usual “Buts” Children love to ride bicycles. Learning to ride offers them their first taste of freedom. Bicycling for children is much like swinging - pure joy.
So what happened to so many of us after childhood? Why do we stop riding even for pleasure? Let's take a look at a few of the "buts."
1. But I have a junky bicycle. It's true that a well-maintained bicycle is a safe bicycle. We have many excellent bicycle shops in Springfield that can keep your bicycle in good repair for a modest price. All that is required of you is to check your tire pressure at least once per week and check that all nuts and quick-release levers are tight and secure.
2. But isn't it dangerous to ride in traffic? It certainly can be dangerous if you do not follow the rules. Bicyclists who follow traffic laws and the safety advice in this booklet will find that riding in modest traffic is a safe and fun way to get around town.
3. But won't motorists honk and get angry if I ride in traffic? It may surprise you to learn that drivers in Springfield are remarkably tolerant of bicyclists. That may be because they understand bicyclists have an equal right to the road and an equal responsibility to follow the law. Every once in a while a driver may honk or get angry. The best advice in this situation is to avoid confrontation.
4. But if I ride to work won't I get all sweaty? A human being riding a bicycle is an efficient moving machine in terms of the speed and distance you can achieve for very little effort. If you ride modest distances (three miles or less) at modest speeds (about 10 to 12 miles per hour) you should arrive at your destination as fresh as you started. On very hot and humid days, however, you will sweat doing just about anything. For longer distances or on hot days, you may find it necessary to clean up upon arrival. This may be easily accomplished by carrying packs of moist wipes and deodorant. It's also a good idea to carry suit coats, dress shoes, ties, and other dress items in a backpack or panniers.
Freshening up will take just a few minutes in your company lavatory.
5. But won't it take a long time to get where I'm going? As this booklet points out, half of all car trips in the United States are less than two miles. A cyclist traveling at modest speeds, and following the traffic laws, can cover that distance in about 15 minutes.
6. But I'm out of shape. Again, a human on a bicycle is an efficient moving machine. As long as you are not trying to race the wind, you will find traveling modest distances at modest speeds is very easy. And bicycling is an excellent, low impact exercise. You won't be out of shape for long.
7. But what if the weather is bad? Practicing the 1-Mile Solution does not require that you ride when conditions are bad. You will discover, however, that adequate clothing will keep you dry, warm, and comfortable if you choose to ride in bad weather.
8. But where will I park my bicycle?
Finding a good place to lock your bicycle can sometimes be a challenge. The City of Springfield, however, has made great progress in providing bicycle parking especially downtown.
You will also find many retailers provide bicycle racks.
If there is no bicycle rack at your favorite destination, call and ask for one.
Providing bicycle parking is just good business.
9. But don't I need a lot of expensive equipment? You just need a bicycle, a helmet, and the desire to ride. If you plan to ride after dark, you will need lights and reflectors that conform to Missouri law.
10. But I need help doing this. Not a problem. Reading this booklet is a good first start. Also be sure to check the internet resources listed here. You will also find that your local bicycle shop is always happy to help. You will find a list of these shops in this booklet along with other helpful resources.
11 Gear and Tools All you really need to ride the streets of Springfield is a bicycle, a helmet, and lights.
1. Your bicycle. The best bicycle for riding the streets of Springfield is the bicycle you like to ride. Be sure that the bicycle fits properly and that the saddle is adjusted to your height. Bicyclists who specialize in utility bicycling, however, generally prefer mountain bikes, hybrids, cruisers, commuters, or town bikes for basic transportation.
1. Your baskets and panniers.
Adding a basket and/or panniers to your bicycle allows you to safely carry many types of items. They come in handy for shopping and running general errands.
4. Your tool kit. As you gain confidence and begin riding farther from home, you will want to carry a small tool kit. Your kit should include at least a bicycle pump, a multi-purpose tool made for bicycles, and a tire patch kit. Carrying an extra inner tube is also a good idea. You can find these tools at your local bicycle shop.
5. Additional items.
Bicyclists making trips farther than a mile sometimes take along additional items of clothing such as a windbreaker or a rain suit. Another useful item is a strap for keeping pants out of the chain if your bicycle does not have a chain guard (inexpensive and available at all bicycle shops in Springfield).