June is officially “Bike Month” throughout Colorado, but Denver residents know that every month is bike month in the Mile High City. The League of American Bicyclists ranks Colorado No. 2 in the nation (behind Washington state) for its 10 bike-friendly communities, 31 bike-friendly businesses and two bike-friendly universities.
With so many biking opportunities, you can’t wait to get out there, right?
Hold onto your bicycles! Before you pedal off to work or recreational adventures, make sure you have adequate insurance coverage on your bike — and are prepared to practice safe biking on the trails and city streets.
To encourage and promote safe bicycling at the individual and community levels, the Colorado Department of Transportation’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Program provides free materials for your use. These include the Colorado Bicycling Manual, the Colorado Bicycling and Scenic Byways Map, a “Share the Road” safety video and more. Simply fill out an order form online and follow the instructions to return it to the CDOT.
Allstate Agent Denise Hoffman has lived in Colorado for more than 20 years, and has called Aurora, Lakewood and Boulder home. She says some basic tips can help protect you and your bike.
Buy a strong U lock. “Don’t rely on rope locks,” Hoffman cautions. “Make sure your bike is secure.” The Denver Police Department agrees, noting that you should “always lock your bike’s frame and wheels (quick-release front wheel) with a high-quality, modern U lock… taking the time to lock up your bike with a high-quality, relatively inexpensive U lock is the best way to keep the bike yours!”
An interesting side note: U locks are the only style of bike lock approved by the University of Denver, in an effort to deter theft. Bikes with “inadequate” locks are issued a warning to secure it properly.
Put a light on your bike, and use lights or reflective clothing on your body. Make sure drivers can see you. For night riding, the City of Denver recommends a front white light visible to 500 feet and a rear red reflector visible when illuminated by headlights to 600 feet.
Wear a helmet. Although Colorado does not have a universal helmet law for all bicyclists (in fact, no state does), it will help protect you in the event of an accident. Don’t take a chance.
Follow the rules of the road. Riders who ignore red lights and proper right-of-way give all bicyclists a bad name — and are likely to cause accidents. Be mindful of traffic rules as well as Denver bike laws, such as staying off the sidewalk unless it is part of an established bike route.
You can protect yourself and your bike on roads and trails, but did you know that your insurance policy may cover a lost, stolen or damaged bicycle? When it comes to insurance policies for bicycle owners, Hoffman offers the following advice.
There’s no question that Denver is a bike-friendly city. Its public-transit system, Regional Transportation of Denver (better known as RTD), has a convenient bike-and-ride program for those using its buses and light rail. It also boasts an impressive metro trails system, with highlights that include the 48-mile Highline Canal Trail, the 37-mile Cherry Creek Trail, the 29-mile Highway 470 Trail and the 16-mile Platte River Trail.
For the ambitious bicyclists out there, Bike the Byways Colorado offers free registration and a checklist to track your progress on all 25 available routes. Many of Colorado’s celebrated ski resorts feature mountain biking during the summer months, and you can even bike the 500-mile, Denver-to-Durango Colorado Trail.
With your insurance policy in hand and safety tips in mind, you’ll have peace of mind to go cycling! Happy pedaling!
Allstate Agent Denise Hoffman is based in Denver. Address: 535 16th St., Ste. 210, Denver, CO 80202. Phone: (303) 628-0554