If you're looking to get outside this spring, you'll enjoy good company. Spring is a busy time for bike paths.
There are hundreds of miles of bike trails in Iowa and South Dakota, and they are used by a variety of people. You'll find bicycle commuters, recreational bicyclists, competitive bicyclists, skaters, joggers, walkers and families.
Bicycle fatalities increasing
According to a report by the Governors Highway Safety Association External Site, bicycle fatalities hit an all-time low in 2010. Ever since then, however, the rate of bicycle deaths has gone up significantly. In 2015, 818 bicyclists were killed on U.S. roadways. That's up 12.2 percent from the previous year and the largest in two decades.
Basic bike rules
By following a few basic rules, bike paths can be shared safely by everyone.
- Keep to the right side of the path, except to pass. Even if you are traveling in groups, stay to the right.
- Faster users should yield to slower users.
- Always travel at a safe speed. If you want to move faster, you may want to consider alternative routes.
- Pass others on the left by slowing down, giving an audible warning such as calling out, "Excuse me, passing on your left," and waiting for a reaction before passing.
- When stopping, move off the pathway.
- Watch for traffic — especially coming out of driveways. Make sure other drivers are aware of the path and your presence.
Looking for another way to get outdoors this season? Walking might be the one exercise that doesn't have a downside.