All ages, from children to adults, benefit greatly from knowing at least the basics of how and where to bike properly and safely in order to have a fun experience. Traffic statistics show that cyclists, pedestrians and motorists who follow the rules of the road ride safely together - making life better for all of us. And it's working! The League of American Bicyclists has awarded Springfield the bronze level Bicycle-Friendly Community status! If your company, school or group would like to know more about bicycle safety education, or request a presentation, let us know!
Rules & Tips - Biking Basics
- Be aware!
- Obey traffic laws - Learn to bike properly and safely
- Use designated bike routes - Greenway trails and on-street bike routes
- Wear a helmet - Fitted and covering forehead
- Communicate with traffic - Through eye contact and hand signals (pointing works well!)
- Ride with traffic - Not against it
- Be visible - Wear bright clothing, reflectors and lights
- Merge into turn lanes like a car - Take the center of the lane at stops and turns
- Watch for parked car doors opening
- Wear leg bands to keep pants from catching in chain
- Have fun!
Rules of the Greenway Trails
- Greenway trails are open from sunrise to sunset.
- Springfield-Greene County Park Board ordinances apply to the greenways.
- The trails are for non-motorized use only, including bicycling, walking, running, skating.
- Travel on the right-hand side of the trail.
- Pass on the left and announce your presence before you pass.
- Cyclists - keep speed to 10MPH or less.
- Proceed in single file when approaching others, around curves and under bridges.
- Use caution at road crossings.
- Keep dogs on leashes and under control.
- Clean up after your dog - scoop the poop.
- Wear a helmet when biking - especially children.
- Avoid using trails during unfavorable conditions.
- Respect private property - stay on the trail.
- Report unsafe trail conditions in Greene County to the Park Board (417) 864-1051.
- Report illegal activity by calling 911.
Rules of the Road
- The rights and duties of people operating bicycles on a roadway are the same as the rights and duties of the driver of any vehicle on the roadway.
- Any person operating a bicycle shall obey the instructions of official traffic control signs, signals, and markings. When dismounted, the bicycle operator shall obey all rules for pedestrians.
- A bicycle should only carry the number of people for which the bicycle is equipped with seats.
- Bicycles must be operated near the right-hand side of the roadway no more than two abreast.
- The bicyclist entering a roadway from an alley, driveway, or building shall yield to all traffic in the roadway and pedestrians in the roadway or on a sidewalk.
- No person shall ride a bicycle on a sidewalk within a business district. Whenever a person is riding a bicycle on a sidewalk, such person shall give an audible signal (such as stating “on your left”) before overtaking and passing a pedestrian.
- Each bicycle operated during darkness must be equipped with a light and reflectors.
Is bicycling on Springfield’s streets dangerous?
There is no easy way to answer that question. On one hand, accident statistics show that bicycling is very safe compared to driving, walking, and many other things we do daily without thinking about safety. On the other hand, when a 4,000–pound car strikes a 40–pound bicycle the bicycle loses every time. This doesn’t mean bicycling is dangerous. It means you, the bicyclist, need to take responsibility for your safety. Bicyclists are safer when they follow traffic laws. It's our goal to educate bicyclists and motorists on what those rules are.
A beginning cyclist might feel nervous about certain streets. That’s good. That shows a healthy respect for safety. The following pointers will help to make the journey safe and fun.
When we follow the rules and act responsibly, bicycling is one of the safest modes of transportation.
- Protect yourself. Be noticed. Wear bright clothing. Use lights and reflectors on your person and bicycle in low light. Wear a bicycle helmet. Use your eyes and ears to detect traffic, trains, and warning signals.
- Obey all traffic rules. Bicycles are not toys. They are legal vehicles. Those who operate them on city streets must obey the traffic laws. Stop at all stop signs and red lights. Yield to traffic according to the Missouri traffic code. Yield to pedestrians when appropriate.
- Position in the lane for speed. If slower than other traffic, stay to the right. If riding the same speed as traffic, use the center of the lane. If faster than other traffic, overtake on the left.
- Stay out of the door zone. When riding along a line of parked cars, allow four feet between yourself and the cars.
- Take the lane when appropriate. The law says bicyclists, as slower traffic,“shall ride as near to the right side of the roadway as safe.” There are times when taking the lane is necessary for the safety of all traffic.
- Don’t forget safety in bicycle lanes and on greenway trails. Dedicated lanes and trails for bicycles provide safe and efficient routes in certain areas of Springfield. Be aware of other users of these facilities—especially pedestrians.
Getting yourself and your bike ready
- Check air, brakes, crank, chain, cogs, quick releases and general operation before a ride
- Have basic tools: cell phone, tire pump, spare tire, tire levers, multitool
- Fit helmet: Level on head to be two finger widths above eyebrows, "V" below ears, two fingers below chin
- Dress for comfort considering the length of your ride and expected weather
- Water if out longer than 30 minutes
- Snack if out 2 hours or longer
Selecting Your Route
- Review The Maps - Use trail and routes where possible
- Select streets with low traffic volume and slow speeds
- Look for streets that parallel 4-lane highspeed streets
- Practice your route during Bike to Work Week in May
Bicycle Traffic Skills Workshops - Free!
"Bicycle Traffic Skills" is a fun free workshop offered on scheduled Saturdays, or three weeknights in a row, at the Environmental Resource Center, 290 E. Central Street, in Springfield.
The workshop is taught by League of American Bicyclists certified instructor, David Hutchison, who also happens to be Springfield Public Works' bicycle-pedestrian traffic engineer, and an Ozark Greenways board member. David is leading the expansion of our community bike route network! Bring your bike, helmet, questions and lunch money if you choose a Saturday workshop (the Saturday groups use the on-street bike route network to bike to lunch together at a nearby restaurant!). This class also is a prerequisite for those who want to go on to become a League Certified Trainer (LCI).
Bike to Work Week in May
It's exciting to see Springfield's network of bike routes and greenway trails continue to expand, connecting more people and places! We want to show residents and visitors that using the trails and routes is fun, good for the waistline, friendly to the wallet and to the environment. Plus, the more people using the network, the more facilities will develop!
This fun annual national event is hosted in Springfield by Ozark Greenways, typically during the third week each May. The goal of the week is to show off our community's network of greenway trails, on-street bike routes and city buses, whether by biking, walking, taking the city bus, carpooling, telecommuting or any combination, we want to highlight the trails and routes, and how easy it can be for many residents to leave their car behind once in a while, or on a regular basis. Here's a cartoon to get you thinking about it.
Find out more and register for Bike to Work Week. Everyone who particpates and reports back to us wins fun prizes!
Think it's too far to ride?
If you live within 5 miles or less, you'd be surprised at how easily you can arrive by biking and/or busing. Try riding the city bus partway and biking or walking the rest.
Think it takes too long?
When going less than 3 miles in an urban area, biking can often get you there faster - and you're saving time if you're combining your commute time with exercise time. (Skip the gym that day!)
Dressing for work?
Leave a set of clothes and toiletries at work ahead of time. Lockers and showers are often available at many workplaces for employees to use. (Or use the YMCAs or any Cox Fitness Center showers and towels for FREE during the annual challenge in May.)
Reasons to Use Alternative Transportation
- Fun (of course)
- Health (both mental and physical)
- Conservation of resources
- Pollution reduction
- Keeping more money in your wallet
- Reducing traffic congestion
- Attention for businesses who get involved
- Time-saving, by combining exercise with commuting
- Increasing productivity
- Experiencing nature
- Helping make Springfield a better place
- Riding the city bus with your bike
- Reporting your days and modes of participation to us when Bike to Work Week is over make eligible for prizes!