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Downtown features new bike lanes, racks, events

With National Bike Month in full swing, cycling events, groups and infrastructure projects are making downtown Las Vegas a friendlier place for cyclists.

Although Nevada adopted the “3-foot Law” in 2011, requiring motorists to give at least 3 feet when passing, Las Vegas is taking safety a step further in the downtown area by covering many streets with green-painted bike lanes. P resent on Ogden, Bonneville, Clark and Hoover avenues, the lanes will extend to Garces, Gass and Bridger avenues and Third, First and Sixth streets, bringing the total bike lane coverage downtown to 6.5 miles by early 2014.

According to Ron Floth of the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada, the RTC Bike Center at 101 S. Bonneville Ave. is a hub for cycling activity in downtown Las Vegas. All are welcome to the Bike Center’s free bike clinics at 6 p.m. Wednesdays and at 10:30 a.m. Saturdays . Topics include road and safety rules, dressing for cycling in all weather, guidelines for hydration and nutrition. An updated schedule of clinics is posted at www.RTCSNV.com/cycling.

“Besides the bike clinics, we have other services that are also free of charge, including secure indoor bike parking for up to 10 consecutive days, free information and a full-service shop that anyone can access to purchase parts or tuneups,” Floth said.

The Bike Center is staffed by skilled technicians from Las Vegas Cyclery and is open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday. For $60, individuals can also purchase an annual membership card that grants them one year of unlimited tuneups, as well as access to private showers and lockers.

More than 30 bike racks will be installed by Las Vegas in approximately 15 locations throughout downtown. These bike racks supplement the existing racks in use by many downtown businesses.

One group working hard to cultivate a cycling culture in Las Vegas is nonprofit bicycle co-op Fremont Bike Clinic, which launched a bicycle repair shop in summer 2011 inside Emergency Arts at the corner of Sixth and Fremont streets.

Although the shop sells tubes and a limited number of other supplies, one goal of the co-op is to educate individuals on how to repair and maintain their bikes. By sharing the workshop and tools, the members spend less on repairs.

The website and Facebook page for Fremont Bike Clinic are resources for finding out about bike news and community rides such as Blinking Man and Critical Mass. Find them at www.fremontbike

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