The streets are swept. School is out. Sunset is past 11 p.m. and the Homer Farmers Market is open. It must be summer.
Summer is the easiest time to get out and ride your bike. Sometimes we still need a bit of a push and that’s why the Homer Cycling Club and the Homer Farmers Market, with support from the Homer Foundation, are working together to provide an incentive for people to ride their bikes to the Homer Farmers Market.
It works like this: ride your bike to the market; park your bike (preferably at the bike rack on the north side of the market near the restrooms); head to the information booth at the market entrance to receive $2 in Bike Bucks, which can be redeemed at any market stand; enjoy the fruits (and vegetables) of your labor.
The market area can be heavily trafficked and parking can be hard to find. This is one of the many reasons why riding your bike can make things easier for you at the market. Parking will be quick, easy and front row. Riding your bike will lessen car traffic. You get exercise in the process and more time outdoors for the day. You save money on gas and you get $2 to use at the market. Folks who drive will appreciate a bit less parking congestion.
Our community has great resources in our local bike shops (Cycle Logical and Homer Saw &Cycle) to get you up and running. It might be time to put that basket on your bike to carry your produce. Whatever you need to do to get on that bicycle, now is the time.
This effort to get people on bicycles is also a great opportunity to discuss how to bike and drive around the Homer Farmers Market. There is not a bike path in the market area. There are nice wide shoulders though so don’t let the “no bike path thing” intimidate you. There are safe ways to ride on our roadways and the more people who ride, the more drivers are aware of cyclists on the road.
If on a bicycle, the safest thing you can do is to ride on the right hand side with the flow of traffic. Riding counter flow is extremely dangerous and counter to our entire traffic structure. So please, ride on the right side of the road with the flow of traffic.
Cyclists should ride as far right as safely possible, but if there is debris or cars parked in the road shoulder, it is perfectly legal for cyclists to move into the main lane of traffic. Be sure to signal with your hand and merge into the lane safely. If you “take the lane,” cars behind you will see you clearly and slow down until your hazard has past and you can reenter the shoulder.
Communication is also very important. When on a bicycle, be sure to use hand signals when you want to turn. Signal left turns with your left arm out. Signal right turns with your left arm (yes, left arm) bent up at a 90 degree angle. This keeps your right hand on your rear brake. Motorcyclists and drivers without working blinkers use the same hand signals and most drivers education courses teach them so it is quite common knowledge. When drivers know what you want to do, they will more than likely help you out so communicate with those signals. Acknowledge attentive drivers with a wave so they know you appreciate their attentiveness.
At the market, park your bicycle at the bike rack and not leaned up against market stands or saw horses. Don’t push your bikes through the market as the market is busy and space is tight.
When driving near the Homer Farmers Market, please stay attentive and off your phone. There are many children around and lots of pedestrians and cyclists. Do not park on the road shoulders to keep this space available for cyclists, pedestrians, through traffic and emergency vehicles. If the parking lot is full, there is additional street parking off E street.
The Homer Farmers Market is a wonderful community event, attraction and economic marketplace. By working together, slowing down and being safe, we can all enjoy it just a bit more. Happy summer, everyone!
Hayley Norris is the Homer Cycling Club’s treasurer and Advocacy Committee Lead.