3 things you need to know about road biking in Huntsville

Mayor's Bike Ride
Participants in last weekend’s Mayor’s Bike Ride. (City of Huntsville, AL / Facebook)

May is National Bike Month, and we think there’s no better time than now to pick up a new activity.

Interested in getting into road biking in Huntsville? Did you know that the City of Huntsville has been working on initiatives for decades to make biking safer and more accessible? Well, now you do. Here are three things you need to know about road biking in the Rocket City.

1. The city has a Bikeway Plan

Mayor's bike ride
Ready to ride? (City of Huntsville, AL / Facebook)

Huntsville published its Bikeway Plan in 2006. The plan includes an outline for 39 bike total bike routes, resulting in 160 total miles of bikeway facilities.

The plan also reiterates the rules of the road for cyclists and motorists. Here’s a refresher:

Cyclists

  • Always obey traffic laws on public roadways
  • always wear a helmet and light colored, retro-reflective clothing
  • Use a headlight, taillight and reflectors at night
  • If a bicycle lane or trail exists next to a roadway, use it instead of the road
  • Never compromise your safety for the convenience of a motorist
  • Never ride agains the flow of traffic + ride in a straight line when possible
  • Avoid riding on sidewalks unless no other option exists
  • Yield to pedestrians at crossings
  • Watch for pedestrians on roads that don’t have sidewalks
  • When using a recreational trail, announce yourself when passing a pedestrian + announce your intentions to fellow cyclists

Motorists

  • Always obey traffic laws on public roadways
  • Treat cyclists as you would any other vehicle on the road
  • Never pass a cyclist riding in a traffic lane in which they are traveling
  • Never pass a cyclist + immediately turn right
  • Scan traffic intersections for cyclists
  • Never honk, yell or otherwise harass a cyclist

The city also provides other resources for cyclists, like providing bike racks on all Orbit buses.

2. There are dozens of defined trails in the city

Mayor's bike ride
The City of Huntsville is dedicated to bike safety. (City of Huntsville, AL / Facebook)

…and we know exactly how you can find them. Here are the maps:

3. Your safety is paramount

The City of Huntsville partnered with the Bicycle and Safety Advisory Committee on See and Be Seen, a campaign that promotes biking safety and encourages a positive relationship between motorists and cyclists. The See and Be Seen website has resources for cyclists and motorists alike.

One important resource is the report form. If you are in a “near miss” incident that is not criminal in nature, you can report that incident to the city using an online form. The city encourages all reports of criminal activity to go directly to the Huntsville Police Department. You can file a report with HPD by visiting the Public Safety Complex at 815 Wheeler Ave NW in Downtown Huntsville or by calling one of the following non-emergency numbers: 256.427.7009 or 256.427.7114.

Other resources include:


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Emily Phillips
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