Riding Rules & Tips
Riding a bike is pretty simple. By renting a bike from us, we are making the assumption that you already know how to safely ride a bike.
If you don't... take your time to learn, and then come on back!!!
Even so, we have a couple of policies for rentals, and there are some city and state riding rules you should know. We also have this fancy legal terms and conditions document you should make sure to review thoroughly before renting.
Please note that this NOT an exhaustive list, and should NOT be used as a legal reference. Check out our videos (coming soon) for more some helpful tips!
GR BIKE RENTALS
We supply you with a bike helmet, at no cost, with your bike rental. Please, please wear it whenever you're riding. Check out this video (coming soon) if you'd like a refresher on how to fit or put on the helmet. Also... my goodness, does that helmet ever look good on you!
- BIKE CONDITION
The bike you're renting will be in good shape, with everything working as it's supposed to, tires inflated, etc. This is our promise to you! Even so, you're responsible for it while you're renting it. Please take care of it and let us know immediately if something wasn't working as it should be.
We include a cable lock with the rental. Toss it in the basket when you're riding, and lock up the bike when you're not. Pretty straightforward... but after all, the bike and accessories are your responsibility when you're renting them! Check out this video (coming soon) to see how to use the lock properly. Make sure to slip the cable lock through the helmet strap when locking the bike.
Our Free-Wheeling Rental System gives you some flexibility on your rental period. While you need to return the bike and other rental items by the end of the day, we totally get if you end up coming back after dark... just turn on the bike lights. We also ask that you turn the lights on 'blinking mode' when you're riding in the road. That's not a law, it's just smart. We provide the lights at no cost with your rental. Please use them! They're easy to use, but check out this video (coming soon) if you're not sure. Personally, we always use lights regardless.
- DON'T BIKE DRUNK (incl. BUZZED)
You wouldn't do it in a car, don't do it on a bike. Seriously. You sign a waiver taking responsibility for your own safety, so be safe! We're all adults here, and we even give you coupons for places around town that happen to sell alcohol - it's Beer City USA, after all - but come on. Biking drunk - and buzzed biking is drunk biking - is waaaaay off limits. Our Free-Wheeling Rental System lets you take some extra time. Go enjoy your bike ride, check out places in town. If you can legally have a drink, that's great by us... but have some water, some food, take time and sober the heck up well BEFORE your enjoyable return ride.
City and State Rules
Grand Rapids is a decently bike-friendly city. In fact, it was recently rated a "Bronze-level" Bike-Friendly Community by the League of American Bicyclists. Even so, there are a couple laws you'll need to follow when you're biking within city limits:
- RIDING SPEED
If you're on a sidewalk, don't go faster than 10 mph (and watch out! riding in the road is actually safer). Also, yield to pedestrians if you're on the sidewalk. Basically, if you're on a sidewalk, act more like a pedestrian. If you're on the road, act like a car. Note that in a very few places (where posted), you can't ride on the sidewalk.
- SAME ROAD, SAME RULES
You can (and usually should) ride in the road, with the same rights - and same rules - as cars. You must ride in the same direction as vehicular traffic. When riding on roads, including on bike lanes, you must signal turns using hand signals. These include, in awesome legalese:
(a) "For a left turn... shall extend ... left hand and arm horizontally."
(b) "For a right turn...shall extend ... left hand and arm upward or shall extend ... right hand and arm horizontally."
(c) "To stop or decrease speed... shall extend ... left hand and arm downward."
- Check out this video (coming soon) for more info on hand signals.
- USING A CELL PHONE
Texting while biking is against City ordinance. You can use a cell phone to talk if you're in handsfree mode. We suggest just stopping for a break if you need to talk on the phone... it's a lot safer and the person on the other end will actually be able to understand you!
- Keep right, pass on the left.
- Dress in layers. You might be chilly when you start, then warm up. We provide a basket for you to toss your stuff in, use it!
- Hydrate! Bring a bottle of water with you and don't forget to drink it! All of our rental bikes now have a convenient bottle cage specifically for water bottles.
- Bring sunglasses and sunscreen. And water. Did we mention bring a bottle of water? Bring a bottle of water. (And drink from it.)
- Alert pedestrians and other cyclists when you're coming up behind them by ringing the bell (provided on all rental bikes) ... remember: keep right, pass left.
Warn people by saying "on your left!" a few seconds before passing them.
- Follow the rules of the road when you're on the road. This includes stopping at traffic lights and stop signs. Keep in mind that people in cars typically treat stop signs as "pause" or "slowly roll through" signs.
- Generally people are cool and will share the road with you... if they see you. Assume they don't see you and that they won't follow the rules. Pedestrians are slow and can be erratic. People driving cars are fast and can be erratic. Watch out for people opening their car doors!
- Here are some more great riding tips! and here's a great - and quite detailed - guide about safe riding from our friends Daniel and Nichole at Rydoze: https://www.rydoze.com/bike-safety/