- Maps and Bike Tour Routes
- Safety Tips
- Trail Rules
- Register Your Bike
- Adult Bicycle Classes
- Bikes on CUE Buses
- Bike Safety Tips
- A bicycle is not a toy. It's a vehicle!
- How Can You Help Your Child Ride Safely?
- Five common bicycle and motor vehicle accidents.
City of Fairfax trails are shared by bicyclists, pedestrians, runners, dog walkers and other users. There is no king of the road on the multi-use trails. EVERYONE must follow the trail rules and use courtesy and common sense to avoid collisions -- especially when the trails are most crowded. Here are the trail rules and guidelines for safe shared use of the trails.
- All trail users should keep to the right side of the trail, except when passing.
- Pass other trail users on their left, leave at least two feet of clearance between them and you. Give an audible warning (such as "passing on your left") as you approach, at least two seconds before passing.
- Pedestrians have the right-of-way on trails and sidewalks. However, groups of pedestrians should form a single-file to allow bicyclists and others to pass.
- Travel only at speeds which are safe and appropriate for trail conditions. Safe and appropriate speeds will be lower in congested areas, when visibility is limited and around curves.
- Pay attention to all trail markings and safety signs.
- Move off the trail pavement whenever you need to stop.
- Bicyclists should ride single file.
- Keep pets on a short leash and under control at all times. The best place for pets is on the right shoulder of the trail, next to their owner.
- Private motorized vehicles (except wheelchairs) are not permitted on the trails.
- Trails are usually not cleared of snow and ice. If you choose to use the trails during the winter, always be alert for any snow or ice and exercise extreme care in your use of the trails.
Unfortunately, bicycles are sometimes lost by young children or stolen. City Police Department offers free Bicycle Registration for city residents. You can also go to National Bike Registry website to register. By registering all the bicycles in your family, the chance of recovering your lost or stolen bicycle increases significantly.
Adult Bicycle Classes
Bicyclists of all ages can benefit from instruction on safe and effective bicycling and proper bike maintenance. Many inexpensive classes for adult bicyclists are available in Fairfax City and in the Washington, DC region:
- City of Fairfax offers bicycle classes throughout the year for anyone over 18 years of age. Classes are held every other Thursday at 7 PM at Green Acres Recreation Center. For more information and to register, email Dick Sheil.
Bicycles are allowed on all City CUE Buses at no extra charge. For more information, visit CUE Buses website.
Bike Safety Tips
- Always wear a helmet
- Obey all traffic signals, signs and lane markings.
- Ride on the right side of the road with the flow of traffic. Pass slower moving or stopped vehicles on their left.
- Ride far enough away from the curb to stay clear of opening car doors, potholes, debris and sewer grates and to maintain a straight line.
- Be alert, scan the route ahead for traffic, opening car doors, pedestrians and obstacles on the road surface.
- Ride predictably so that others can see you and predict your movements. Use hand signals to indicate turns.
- Make eye contact with motorists and pedestrians before crossing paths.
- Except when signaling, always keep both hands on the handlebars and be ready to brake. Use secure racks or packs for carrying items or packages.
- Go slower and use caution when the road is wet or icy, or when visibility is limited.
- Be visible; use of lights, and reflectors are required when riding at night. Brightly colored or reflective clothing can help increase visibility.
- When possible, avoid bicycling upon sidewalks, especially in areas where pedestrians and motorists may not expect bicyclists or may have obstructed visibility.
- Keep your bicycle in good working condition. Also, only ride a bicycle that is sized and adjusted to fit you.
A bicycle is not a toy. It's a vehicle!
- Each year approximately 700 bicyclists are fatally injured and an estimated 1/2 million bicycle related injuries are treated in hospital emergency rooms.
- Males are five (5) times more likely to be killed as bicyclists than females. More than one-fifth of all bicyclist deaths occur among youth ages 5 – 15.
- Most deaths result from bicycle-motor vehicle collisions, but injuries can happen anywhere - in parks, bike paths, and driveways and often do not involve motor vehicles.
- Head injuries are the most serious injury type and are the most common cause of deaths among bicyclists. The most severe injuries are those to the brain that cause permanent damage.
- Studies have proven that bicycle helmet use can significantly reduce head injuries.
- Buy your child an approved bike helmet. Purchase one that has a sticker inside certifying the helmet meets standards of the Consumer Safety Products Commission CSPC). Older helmets might instead have an F1447 certification label by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM), or a green or blue Snell Memorial Foundation sticker.
- Let your child help pick out the helmet because it must be worn every time he/she rides. If you're a rider, buy one for yourself, too, and set a good example by wearing it. Also encourage your child's friends to wear helmets.
- Make certain your child's bike is the correct size, safely maintained, and has reflectors.
- Teach your child to always stop and look left-right-left before entering the road. This is a good pedestrian safety practice, too, for crossing the street.
- Children under age nine should not ride their bikes in the street unsupervised. They are not able to identify and adjust to the many dangerous traffic situations.
- Children who are permitted to ride in the street unsupervised should have the necessary skills to safely follow the “rules of the road.” Cyclists must obey traffic laws that apply to motor vehicle operators. Driver licensing agencies and highway departments are good sources for booklets that explain bicycle safety rules. Enroll your child in a bike safety education program if one is available in your community.
- Stress the need to ride alert. Many drivers do not look for bicyclists. Teach children to use proper hand signals to let other road users know their intentions.
- Avoid riding at night if possible, as drivers often miss seeing cyclists. If riding at night or in low light conditions is unavoidable, make sure you and the child in your care are visible by wearing bright colored clothing, reflective gear and white headlights plus rear reflectors.
- Never allow your child to ride while wearing audio headphones.
Although most bicycle crashes do not involve motorists, bicyclist-motorist collisions are among the most serious for cyclists. Bicyclists should always be attentive and anticipate potential trouble situations. Below are some tips on how to avoid some of the most common types of bicycle-motor vehicle collisions:
- Midblock Rideout: This is the most frequent accident type for young riders and occurs soon after the bicyclist enters the road from a driveway, alley, or curb without slowing, stopping or looking for traffic. The bicyclist's sudden entry leaves the motorist too little time to avoid the collision. "Bicyclist": Stop and look left-right-left for traffic before entering the road.
- Wrong Way Riding: Motorists do not expect traffic to be approaching from the wrong direction. "Bicyclist": Go with the flow! Ride on the right - with traffic just like cars do.
- Motorist Overtaking Cyclist: This accident occurs because the motorist fails to see and react to the bicyclist until it is too late. This type of collision is more frequent at night, or on narrow busy roads, involves driver inattention, and also involves drunk driving. "Bicyclist": Whenever possible, avoid riding on busy narrow roads and where highway speeds are over 35 mph. Always use lights and reflectors if you must ride at night.
- Bicyclist Left Turn or Sudden Swerve: The bicyclist swerves to the left without checking traffic, without signaling and moves into the path of an overtaking motor vehicle. The motorist does not have enough time to avoid the collision. "Bicyclist": Be predictable. Always ride in a straight line. When preparing to change your lane position, LOOK behind you and yield to overtaking traffic. Use hand signals to make your intentions clear to motorists.
- Stop Sign Rideout: This accident occurs when the bicyclist enters an intersection that is controlled by a sign and collides with a vehicle approaching from an uncontrolled lane. The bicyclist fails to stop/slow and look for traffic before entering the intersection. This improper action leaves the motorist too little time to avoid a collision. "Bicyclist": When driving your vehicle, obey all traffic signs and signals. At busy uncontrolled intersections, get off your bike and walk across the road as you do when you are a pedestrian.
The following links will lead you outside the City of Fairfax website:
- Fairfax Advocates for Better Bicycling
- Washington Area Bicyclist Association
- Virginia Bicycling Federation
- Fairfax Cycling – A listserve for bicyclists in Fairfax County, Virginia to post news, events, and inquiries relating to local bicycling, including opportunities to improve conditions for on-road bicycling.