{mosimage} The increasing number of bicycles on the road is a sure sign of spring. Expect the number of bicycles to increase some more next week with the Valley Walk and Roll Festival, as well as during the summer as bicyclists come from all over to ride in The Valley. 

According to Vermont state law, a bicycle is a legal vehicle and to be used on all roads except where prohibited by state law (interstate highways, for example). Educational efforts are continuously underway to educate motorists and bicyclists regarding their shared responsibility to obey the law and engage in safe operating behavior on our roadways.

 Walk and Roll update
The Valley Walk and Roll Festival began with the screening of the classic cycling movie, Breaking Away, at the Big Picture and continues through Sunday with a variety of activities.

This evening, May 15, bike riders of all abilities are encouraged to join the Mad River Riders' regular Thursday group rides, starting at 5:30 p.m. at the intersection of Routes 100 and 17. Routes will be determined depending on riders' fitness and riding experience. This ride can be a warm-up for those planning on joining in on national Bike or Walk to Work Day on Friday.

Those who plan to bike or walk to the Farmers' Market on Saturday, May 17, are urged to stop by the Valley Moves booth to pick up maps and info on local rides, on the Mad River Path, and on bike safety. And on Sunday, participants can join group rides, starting at 1p.m. at the intersection of Routes 100 and 17, to celebrate the recent expansion of the Mad River Scenic Byway. Rides will head south to Granville, north to Middlesex, or west to the top of App Gap, and will be followed by a social gathering and free raffle at John Egan's Big World Pub and Grill.

For a complete calendar of activities, go to valleyfutures.net or contact Laura Brines at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Here's some information that may serve as helpful reminders as peak biking season approaches.

Share the Road: Bicyclists

As legal vehicles, bicyclists have the same duties and responsibilities as other vehicles and must obey all traffic laws, including stop signs. Bicyclists should ride as near to the right side of the road as practicable and use hand signals to indicate turns and stops. When turning left, bicyclists should move to the left side of the travel lane. Check for traffic before entering a street or intersection.

Bicyclists should make every effort to ride predictably. Ride in a straight line and look ahead to allow time to avoid obstacles. In the villages, don't swerve in the road or between parked cars. Riding two abreast is legal in Vermont as long as it does not impede normal and reasonable movement of traffic. When in doubt, or on busy roads, bicyclists should ride single file. When stopping, pull off the road to avoid obstructing other road users. Riders are advised to be courteous to other bicyclists and motorists on the road.

To enhance visibility, it's helpful for bicyclists to wear bright-colored clothing. Vermont state law mandates bicycles have a white front light and red rear reflector, with an optional red light on the rear of the bike when riding at night. Blinking red lights are available that further increase visibility. And, bicyclists should wear helmets at all times, no matter how short the trip.

Share the Road: Motorists

Drivers need to remember that bicyclists are vehicles, too. Yield the appropriate right of way at stop signs and allow bicycles a little extra time to get across intersections. Look for bicycles when entering traffic and at intersections. Check for bicycles when opening doors when parking in the villages. Bicyclists can easily reach speeds of 30-45 mph -- be careful not to pull out in front of a fast-moving bicycle when entering a road from side roads or driveways.

When passing bicyclists, motorists should wait for safe road and traffic conditions. Motor vehicles have vast advantages of weight and speed over a bicycle, and pausing for a moment before passing or giving a little space makes the situation safer and calmer for everyone. Leave at least four feet between the car and the bicycles. Also, be aware of hazards bicyclists may face and give them a little extra space. For example, the broken road and shoulder surface in the northbound land of Route 100 just before the Kingsbury Bridge and again just before The Bundy are dangerous for bicycles -- bicyclists out in the roadway here, and a few other places in The Valley, are riding as far right as is practicable.  

Drivers should watch for children. Children on bicycles are often unpredictable and can't be expected to know traffic laws. Because of their size, children can be harder to see. Expect the unexpected and slow down.

(This Share the Road information was prepared by MRVHC based on information received from the Vermont Bicycle and Pedestrian Coalition and the League of American Bicyclists.)