Fairbanks, Alaska, presents some unique challenges when it comes to bike safety. Extreme weather conditions, including snow, do not stop cyclists from getting out in Fairbanks. Contending with snow is just one more factor in the city's bike safety programs.
No Helmet Law
There is no law requiring bicycle helmets in Fairbanks. Neither the federal nor the state governments have such a law. Still, the wearing of helmets is strongly recommended by cyclist and health officials in Fairbanks.
Especially in the cold and snow, having proper equipment is very important. Cyclists in Fairbanks use studded tires on their bikes when there is snow. Extra care also has to be taken when piles of snow are close to the side of the road.
The city developed a comprehensive bicycle plan in 1981, and has updated it a few times, the latest being 2007. The plan calls for more bike paths and more awareness between cyclists and motorists.
Rights and Responsibilities
Cyclists are considered vehicle drivers and have the same rights and responsibilities that automobiles have while on the streets. Cyclists in Fairbanks are required to have lights on the bicycles at night.
The latest overall bike plan for Fairbanks includes expanding its trail system from 248 miles to more than 500 miles as the city hopes to continue to encourage the use of bicycles for transportation.
Anchorage, Bethel and Kanai all have municipal laws requiring anyone under 16 to wear a helmet while riding a bicycle.
Article Written By James Jordan
James Jordan has been a writer and photographer since 1980. He has worked for newspapers in Arkansas, Tennessee, South Carolina and Kansas, winning state press association awards for writing, photography and page design. In 1995 he received his master's in Christian education and completed two years of Ancient Greek at the graduate level. Jordan holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism.