With more than 88 miles of bike trails in Dublin, two-wheeling is an important part of the local lifestyle.

With more than 88 miles of bike trails in Dublin, two-wheeling is an important part of the local lifestyle.

Bicycling is so popular in Dublin that the city recently released the third edition of its popular Parks, Bike Paths and Pedestrian Trails guide. The free, pocket-sized brochure is available at the Dublin Community Recreation Center, 5600 Post Road; the Municipal Building, 5200 Emerald Parkway; and the Dublin Library, 75 N. High St.

With so many people using our trails, it makes sense periodically to review some of the basic rules and etiquette for cyclists.

First, always wear an ANSI-approved bike helmet with the chin strap fastened, and make sure your children do, too. A good helmet is shiny with a foam interior. Cloth-covered helmets can catch on branches or other obstructions, causing head or neck injuries. A helmet should sit snugly on your head, with about two fingers width between your brow and the helmet brim.

If riding after dark, wear light or reflective clothing. Have reflectors on your bike and a light that emits a continuous red beam in the back.

Wear protective glasses when riding. This is not a fashion statement. Glasses protect your eyes from insects, dirt, branches, rocks thrown from vehicles and other dangers. Sunglasses also protect your eyes from light and glare.

Treat your bike like a motor vehicle. It must follow the same rules and laws as cars. That includes stopping at traffic signals, signaling turns to other drivers and staying within your lane. Actually, you should be even more cautious on a bike. After all, a mid-sized sedan can weigh 100 times more than a bicycle.

In addition to the rules of the road, don't forget a little courtesy goes a long way on our bike trails. This goes for bicyclists and pedestrians alike.

Just like on a road, stay to the right when riding and pass on the left. Before passing someone, check for traffic coming toward you or from behind. Ring a bell or offer a courteous warning, such as, "Passing on the left, please." And say, "Thank you" once you've passed. Do not move back to the right side of the trail until several bike lengths in front of the other person.

Keep in mind that faster traffic is responsible for yielding the right of way to slower traffic on bike trails.

If you need to stop while on the trail, pull completely off to the side.

When entering onto a trail, yield to traffic already on the trail.

Be courteous. Our trails also are for in-line skating, walking and jogging.

Bicycling is supposed to be social in addition to good exercise, but riding side by side is dangerous and discourteous to others. Ride in single file and avoid a collision.

Watch your speed. Biking is a great fitness activity, but our trails are not designed for fast riding. Going too fast could easily result in a collision with pedestrians, children and other trail users.

If walking a dog, keep it on a leash and be especially aware of other trail uses. Fast-moving cyclists and other dogs can spook even the calmest canines.

Motorized vehicles and skateboards are prohibited on our bike trails. Dublin has a terrific bike network, so get out and enjoy it this summer. Just be safe while you're out there.

Fred Hahn is Dublin's director of parks and open space.

Fred

Hahn