May the 4th, besides being Star Wars Day (May the force (fourth) be with you) it was national Bike and Walk to School Day. The group Bike Walk Bitterroot sponsored a group of kids and adults who rode bicycles from South 5th Street in Hamilton, across US 93, to the Daly Elementary School on Daly Avenue.

The ride gave participants a view of what it's like at 7:30 a.m. in Hamilton, when young kids are using the sidewalks and streets to get to class at the same time that adults are going to work. And, with state, county and city officials as part of the group, talk at the end of the ride centered on what could be improved for pedestrians and bicyclists in town.

May the 4th bike ride included a county commissioner, a state legislator... and Darth Vader? (DF, Townsquare Photo)
May the 4th bike ride included a county commissioner, a state legislator... and Darth Vader? (DF, Townsquare Photo)

The group made pretty good time on their journey along the residential streets and along Daly Avenue. But, it can always be better. Bike lanes and better intersection controls were among the topics that people thought might help make Hamilton better for those who don't drive automobiles, but still need to get around - either on foot or on two wheels.

Bike safety awareness is highlight of May

May is National Bike Month, the Bike Walk Bitterroot has more activities planned. The "Walk and Roll Challenge" May 10 through the end of the month, where you are encouraged to travel the most miles by bike, foot, board, or any other non-motorized form of transportation on a "regular" basis. Miles racked up in other competitions won't count. Just things like commuting to work, "running" an errand, or strolling through one of our parks will count. There will be weekly prizes. Register at the Bike Walk Bitterroot website.

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A Commuter Breakfast is planned May 20 at the Hamilton Parklet (which is at 107 South 2nd Street this summer). Free coffee and food from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. The Hamilton Police Department "Bike Rodeo" for the kids will be May 21. More details are coming for that popular annual event from the Hamilton police. And "Sunday Street" will be happening on South 4th Street in Hamilton from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. on May 22nd. The group "Poor Henry" will bring the music. More details are at the Bike Walk website.

Bike Walk Montana has useful tips for riders:

  • Use hand signals to indicate your intention - turning and stopping.
  • Ride single file and with the flow of vehicle traffic.
  • When you're slower than traffic, stay as far to right as possible.
  • Watch out for "Door Zone" along cars parked parallel to the road.
  • Have red light at the rear of the bike, even during the day.
  • At night, always have a bright forward-facing white light.

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