This week came with some very big news for the bicycling community in California. For years cyclists have fought for the “give me three” law to be passed in the state. And for years cyclists have watched in vain as Governor Jerry Brown vetoed the law due to linguistic vagueness. However, the language has finally been specific enough to pass the governor’s desk, and now we have a new measure to ensure our safety while on the road.
Why Give me Three Finally Passed the Governor’s Desk
The major caveat of the law that ended up being passed is that drivers only need to give cyclists three feet when there is room. I suppose this makes sense because how is a driver supposed to move over three feet if there is only a foot of clearance between them and the curb. For the most part I have not heard many complaints about the law as-passed; for the most part cyclists are just relieved that they finally have some sort of protection while commuting.
“Give me three” is a long-overdue law, especially after the rash of hit-and-runs we have been seeing lately in the state of California. The city of Los Angeles sponsored the bill, which makes sense because it seems to be the epicenter of this hit-and-run trend. Hopefully with some new protections in place for cyclists, we can see the number of incidents and hit-and-runs gradually go down.
Of course, getting the law passed was only half of the battle. Now that we have the law in place, it is up to the cycling community to pressure law enforcement and city leadership to actually enforce the ordinance. It’s all well and good to say “give me three”, but if nobody is obeying the law, it might as well have just been vetoed by Jerry Brown a third time.
Next week we will get back to bicycle racks and ways to store bicycles, but I thought I would talk about this important measure that provides protection for all of us riders out there in the great state of California. As the saying goes, “As California goes, so goes the rest of the country” – hopefully with this law passed in California, we will start to see other states follow suit.
This may not come as a surprise to most of you, but storing a bicycle in a small apartment is a very difficult task! Apartments can be quite cramped right off the bat, but adding in a bulky and space-consuming bicycle makes it even more uncomfortable. To truly get apartment bike storage right, you need to have the correct style of bike rack, the right tools and a willingness to try out a few different locations for mounting said bike rack.
The best racks for apartment bike storage are designed to be mounted to the wall. That way you can store the bicycle up out of the way and not lose valuable floor space. These racks can be easily installed – but be sure to mount the rack to the stud so it is strong enough to hold your bicycle in place. When bike racks are mounted to nothing but the drywall, you end up with a disaster.
One of my favorite racks for apartment bike storage is the Single Wall Mounted Bike Rack by Delta Design. This rack is very well made and is perfect for storing your bicycle up and away from the main living areas. The rack allows you to store your bicycle parallel to the wall, so it does not stick way out into the room.
All of the feedback I have received regarding this bike rack by Delta Design is that it is almost as if it was custom-built for apartment dwellers. It is easy to install and does not do much damage to the walls. Another thing that is great about this bike rack is that it includes a tire-tray which prevents your tires from scuffing up the paint on your apartment’s walls. The tray fits any size tire.
Another thing people have noted about the bicycle rack is that it actually looks pretty stylish when the bike is not mounted. This is not something you hear very often about bike racks, especially those for apartment bike storage. But because this bike rack has a contemporary appearance, it looks cool with or without a bike!
When it comes to bicycle storage, it is best to find an indoor place to keep your ride. Moisture and sun exposure can have damaging effects on even the best-built bicycles. Because of this, most bicycle racks are designed for indoor storage. Unfortunately, many of us are not lucky enough to have a garage or large shed in which to securely store our bicycles. Do not fret, because there are outdoor bicycle rack options out there for those of us without indoor storage opportunities.
The good thing about storing your bicycle outdoors is that you have to pay less attention to saving space. Even those that do have a garage or shed always have to be on the lookout to save floor space because this indoor storage is typically pretty limited. But when you are using an outdoor bicycle rack, saving space is a secondary concern.
Your primary concern should be keeping your bicycles’ exposure to the elements at a minimum. This means finding a location near the house that does not get a ton of sunlight. If you can find a place that has an overhang to prevent your bicycles from getting wet, even better! However, even this may not be enough to keep your bicycle from getting damaged.
The ultimate outdoor bicycle rack setup
If you have the money to spend, I would highly recommend supplementing your outdoor bicycle rack with a portable shed or canopy such as the E Series Portable Outdoor Shed. This will keep the sunlight and moisture exposure to a minimum and provide a safe place for your bicycles to be stored.
Within this canopy or portable shed, use the Indoor / Outdoor Poly Lumber Bike Rack as your outdoor bicycle rack. This rack is made from poly lumber, which is specifically designed to withstand the rigors of outdoor storage. In fact, this outdoor bicycle rack may be more suited for outdoor storage than your bicycles themselves!
With these two products you can easily store your bicycles outdoors and not worry about all of the storage that is being lost in your shed or garage.
Bicycle safety is a very important aspect of being an everyday rider. While you cannot always control how the cars, pedestrians and other cyclists around you behave, your actions can go a long way towards ensuring your safety. From using the proper hand signals to using proper bike storage techniques, there are many things you can do to keep yourself safe on the road.
First off, everyone should wear a helmet. And not just place it haphazardly on your head, but actually wear it in the proper manner. That means wearing it so that it covers your entire head, especially the front part. It is required by law for anyone under 18 to wear a helmet, but everyone should wear one. It’s not like your skull suddenly gets stronger on your 18th birthday.
Another important safety tip is to be visible to drivers. So skip the all-black outfit when you are riding at night and get yourself some brightly colored riding gear. This makes riding safer for you and the cars on the road. If you do insist on wearing dark colors, then get yourself a flashing light – there is no way drivers will miss you as you brightly roll down the street. And of course, having the proper reflectors on your bicycle is required by law – so make sure you have your front lamp, rear red reflector and a white or yellow pedal reflector.
Other tips include learning the proper hand signals, riding the same direction as traffic, and riding on the road and not the sidewalk (this is one tip a surprising number of cyclists do not know about). And of course, look out for parked cars – nothing is worse than getting doored while riding 30 MPH.
Bike Storage Techniques Further Your Safety
And of course, this blog would not be replete without mentioning bike storage techniques, as this is the Bike Racks Blog. When you employ the proper bike storage techniques, you can keep your bicycle in good shape. Many of the worst accidents I have seen have involved a malfunctioning bike that was improperly stored. The Gravity 2-Bike Rack is a great way to keep your bike stored safely!
Of course, as a cyclist you do put your safety in others’ hands quite a bit. But using these tips can seriously decrease your chances of injury or accident. For more bicycle safety tips, check out the DMV’s site.