North Texas Daily

How to be a safe and prepared cyclist in Denton

How to be a safe and prepared cyclist in Denton

How to be a safe and prepared cyclist in Denton
April 23
00:22 2014

Olivia Sylvain // Staff Writer

Cyclists travel Denton streets every day, providing a healthy hobby and bringing community members together as spring settles in.

The city is gradually becoming more bike-friendly city with more shops that offer the bikes, parts and expertise to help bikers get on the road.

The Bicycle and Run Path on Fort Worth Drive has been in Denton since 2007 and owner Gary Haack has more than 15 years of experience in cycling and bicycle repair. Haack said the cyclers he has met in Denton are usually pretty educated on the different bikes and what it best for them.

“Most of the customers come in already knowing what they want and we just guide them through the store and show them what they need,” Haack said.

Haack recommends hybrid bicycles for the average person interested in cycling. Hybrids are general-purpose and usually a cross between road bikes, touring bikes and mountain bikes. They offer comfort and are easy to use for riders of all ages and riding experience.

Bicycle safety is key for anyone interested in taking up the hobby. As a general rule, cyclists must follow the same traffic rules as motor vehicles, including stopping at stop signs and signaling before making turns.

The UNT Police Department offers a comprehensive bicycle safety overview on their website and the university has made progress on becoming a bike-friendly campus. Bike racks are available campus-wide and bike repair stations were installed at the Union in 2011. However, the UNT Police Department does not offer services specifically to cyclists, Cpl. Debra Olivarez said.

In Feb. 2012, the City of Denton launched the Pedestrian and Bicycle Component to the Denton Mobility Plan. The goal is to improve city infrastructure and make it easier for bikers and pedestrians to move throughout the city. The plan was implemented to encourage biking and walking for health, environmental, and economic benefits.

Christopher Walker of BikeDenton.org said he and his group are monitoring the city’s progress and the plan seems to be stagnant.

“This plan calls for about 35 miles of on-road infrastructure or off-road trails to be developed over five years,” Walker said. “Unfortunately, city staff has dragged their feet in implementation, citing an array of excuses.”

UNT music professor and bike enthusiast Jennifer Lane enjoys cycling in the city and makes the effort to go on weekly rides with a community cycling group. Lane said there are still many changes to make in order for Denton to truly be a bike-friendly city.

“I’m disappointed that the city of Denton is so slow to solidify bike infrastructure,” Lane said. “Basics like bike lanes and traffic lights that do not turn red on cyclists in the middle of intersections have not been brought into being.”

For those interested in taking up cycling as a hobby, Walker recommends joining the weekly Tuesday Night Ride at 9 p.m. at the Language Building. BikeTexas.org offers a full overview of state bike regulations and resources for cyclists statewide.

Feature photo: Ntdaily file photo

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