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Bikers hit streets as weather warms

By Grace Ditzler, KTVM Reporter, gditzler@ktvm.com
Published On: Apr 16 2014 10:57:58 PM MDT
Updated On: Apr 16 2014 11:15:44 PM MDT
BOZEMAN, Mont. -

As the weather begins to warm up, more and more Bozeman residents are opting to use their bikes to get around town. But that means more congestion in the bike lanes, and on roads as bikers share the lane with cars.

MSU student Jacqui Lebel said she biked to school every day.

"I live about five blocks from campus," she explained, and said it's easy to get around Bozeman on her bike.

"I bike downtown to go out or study somewhere. I bike to the grocery store sometimes," she said. "It's easy to get around. It's flat."

Sgt. Jim Veltkamp with the Bozeman Police Department said more bikers like Lebel are hitting the streets as the weather gets warmer.

"People going to work and school during the day, to the parks in the evenings, to people frequenting the bars at night," Sgt. Veltkamp said.

But with more bikers, he said, comes more concern about safety.

"During the day, safety from the high volume of vehicles that are generally around town, and at night, increased concern for safety due to visibility."

Veltkamp explained the best way to stay safe on your bike is to be seen. He said make sure vehicles around you know you're there. That means wearing visible clothing, lights at night, and signaling to traffic around you.

The Gallatin Valley Land Trust says there are 70 miles of bike-friendly trails throughout the Bozeman area. There are more than 10 roads with dedicated bike routes throughout the city.

The Gallatin Valley Land Trust said Bozeman's trails are one of the reasons that Bozeman is such an outdoor-friendly town.

"We have trails where people can ride bikes," GVLT Executive Director Penelope Pierce said. "They can ride to work, they can ride to MSU, they can get in and out of town. I think we are a really health-conscious community. People like being outside and we have safe places where people can ride their bikes...Build it and they will come. As long as people have safe ways to get around they will use alternative transportation."

This week is also Montana State University's Bike to School Week.

Throughout the week, students who bike to school will receive free food and giveaways.