HAILEY, Idaho — In the Wood River Valley, one of the most popular ways to get around is on the back of a bicycle. With the community growing, it is becoming more important to understand proper bike safety.
Whether it is for recreating or just for running errands, Blaine County residents often choose a bicycle as a way of exercise or to be environmentally friendly.
“Lots of people are out on bikes, people on bikes is a good thing,” said Hailey bike shop owner Chip Deffe.
Chip is the owner of bike shop Sun Summit South and he said this summer has been a busy one with lots of first-time bike owners out on the roads.
“You have to be not just defensive, but you actually have to be offensive, and a lot of cars don’t like the bicycle out there,” Deffe said.
Fortunately, the Wood River Valley is a bike-friendly community with bike paths and safe routes to school. But with the surge of bike riders on the roads, knowing proper bike safety is a necessity.
“I think the biggest increase we have right now is the e-bikes the electronic bikes,” said Hailey Fire Chief Mike Baledge. “Make sure you are minding speed limits and wearing helmets, I see a lot of kids on these bikes, and they are traveling pretty high speeds and a lot of them are not wearing helmets.”
Proper bike safety is also on the minds of those at the Hailey Public Library, who spent their Wednesday hosting a bike training for young riders.
“Lots of kids on bikes all over the place,” said Elise Deklotz with the Hailey Public Library. “We just want to make sure as kids are little that they start to learn the rules of the road on a bike.”
Officials remind all cyclists to please get off your bike and walk them when you are on a crosswalk, and to make sure you are always wearing the proper gear in order to remain safe if an accident were to occur.
“Regardless of your form of transportation, whether you are pushing a scooter around, whether you are riding a bicycle or walking, be a good user out there,” said Deffe.
As a bike shop owner, Deffe said when customers come in to get their first bike, the biggest advice he gives to them is to pay attention and not expect cars to stop for you or expect you to have the right of way.