Whether on a bike, roller skates or skateboard, while some methods of transportation offer physical fitness and a chance to slow down and enjoy the scenery.
Whether on a bike, roller skates or skateboard, while some methods of transportation offer physical fitness and a chance to slow down and enjoy the scenery. Those who use these means of getting from one place to another should be aware of the safety risks that accompany them.
"We don't get a lot of complaints, but we do observe people on a regular basis doing things that are unsafe," said McPherson Police Lt. Stan Neufeld. "We see bikers blowing stop signs left and right, for example. I once saw an adult man blow two red lights on Main Street."
Whether biking or skating, people should keep in mind the laws of the road that, when followed, improve safety for riders, drivers and pedestrians alike.
While roadways are typically reserved for motor vehicles, Neufeld said adult bikers should use roads instead of sidewalks, unless conditions make doing so unsafe.
"For kids, we suggest using the sidewalk for their safety. They're young and new at riding, so it's safer for them off the road," he said. "For older bikers, though, state law says they should be on the road traveling in the direction of traffic."
Riders and skaters should obey all posted rules and respect areas where biking or riding is prohibited, walking through such areas instead.
Ronn Peters, a county bike enthusiast, said bikers, drivers and pedestrians need to be aware of their surroundings at all times and look out for each other.
"That's the first rule—know where you are at all times, and know what's around you," Peters said. "That includes in front, behind and to the sides. Doing that keeps you much safer."
This also applies when bikers or skaters are traveling in crowded areas. It may be best to walk through crowds to avoid collisions or other accidents.
People should be especially conscious in places like skate parks, where fellow riders or skaters may cross paths.
Peters also recommends always using safety equipment, such as helmets, in case an accident does occur.
"There are accidents with bikes, just like with cars," he said. "It just happens."
Neufeld said he is not aware of any bicycle safety classes taught in the county. Peters said a kids' bike rodeo sometimes accompanies the annual BAMFAM bike ride. Residents can also look online for bike, skateboard and skating safety tips.
Generally, Peters said McPherson County residents are good at respecting each other on the roads and sidewalks.
"I've biked across Kansas 16 times, and overall, people in McPherson County are as courteous as anywhere else in the state," he said. "People are aware we're out there."