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Sep 9, 2020

Riding bicycles connects people with fun, freedom, exercise, recreation, and transportation. Whether on streets, paved trails, or off-road, there are many different styles of bikes and types of riding to choose from. These nine bicycling safety tips are for general riding on the trail or the streets, whether someone is just out for a spin, or commuting to work or school.

  1. Obey all regulatory signs and traffic lights. When people use their bikes on streets, they are subject to traffic rules and laws. If riding on a sidewalk, always give pedestrians the right of way and pay special attention for turning vehicles at curbs, driveways and street crossings. Parents are responsible for their kids obeying bike laws.
  2. Never ride against traffic. When a bicycle and car are moving towards each other, there is much less time to take corrective action. Ride with traffic to avoid potential accidents; this means riding on the right side of the road so faster traffic passes you on your left. Kids younger than 10 years old should stick to the sidewalks unless riding with adults.
  3. Be predictable! Use hand signals [shown here] to let motorists know what you intend to do. Make the signals clear and hold them 2-3 seconds before your turn, not during the turn. When riding with other cyclists on a road or a trail, use your voice or use hand signals to prevent collisions. For example, you might have your hands squeezing your brakes, so you could say “slowing” or “stopping” to warn others if they are riding behind you.
  4. Ride in a straight line to the right of traffic (on two-way streets) and a little more than a car-door width away from parked cars. Ride in the lane and not in and out of the shoulder. The shoulder can be dangerous with crumbling roadways, debris, or other hazards. Weaving in and out of the lane to move around parked cars can put the cyclist at great risk from oncoming motorists. Also, watch for parked cars to pull away from the curb.
  5. Always wear a helmet and never ride with headphones. Helmets dramatically reduce the risk of head injury in a bicycle crash, and they must be fit properly to be effective. Take the helmet fit test. While helmets are not mandated by law in Washington, they are highly recommended safety gear and required in Spokane and other cities. Headphones can block out important sounds, such as the motor of an approaching car or the beeps of a garbage truck backing up. Keep your brain protected, ears clear, and eyes active.
  6. Use lights and reflectors at night and when visibility is poor. When riding at night, Washington state law says bikes must have a white light on the front of the bike and a red reflector on the back. In addition, a steady or flashing red rear light is recommended.
  7. Pass on the left. Motorists, other cyclists, or pedestrians may not look for or see a bicycle passing on the right. When passing a cyclist or other trail user, use your bell before passing or say “on your left.” Always look over your shoulder before passing or changing lanes.
  8. Dress for the weather. Dress in layers so you can adjust to the temperature and always wear bright clothing. Neon colors or high visibility vests are encouraged! Make sure your clothing and cargo is clear of the chain and gears. Spandex is not required!
  9. Keep your bike in good repair. Check brakes and tires regularly. Make sure all components are secure and that your chain is lubricated. Take your bike to your local bike shop for a tune-up or find free videos online to perform your own basic maintenance.

Source: Safety tips from SRHD’s Stickman Knows program


Helpful Cycling Resources

Spokane Regional Bike Map:

Check out the new Appleway Trail in Spokane Valley:

Stickman Knows safety program from Spokane Regional Health District:

Helmet fit test from Safe Kids:

Signaling video from League of American Bicyclists:

Bike safety tips for parents from Safe Kids:

Learn how to load bikes on STA buses:

Knows the rules of the road — Washington state bicycle laws:

Cycling for Seniors:

Did you Know?


  • You can sign up for a station tour. Great for small groups.
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  • Creating a defensible space with regards to wildfires could just save your home or property.

Media Contact

  • Julie Happy
  • 509-892-4155

Commissioner Patrick Burch

Board Member Since: July 18, 2016
Current term expires: December 31, 2025

Commissioner Burch was appointed to the Board of Fire Commissioners in July 2016 to fill an unexpired term and has served continuously since that time. He became a volunteer member of the Department’s CERT Team in 2008 and later served as a team leader/member of Fire Corps.

“I admire the Spokane Valley Fire Department’s focus on continuous improvement. Our dedication to the community, fiscal responsibility and the fact that we are one of the few accredited fire departments in the State of Washington all make SVFD great!”

Note: As the individual appointed to this non-partisan position, Commissioner Burch was elected by voters in November 2017.

Commissioner Mike Kester

Board Member Since: January 1, 2020
Current six year term expires: December 31, 2025

Commissioner Mike Kester was elected to the Board of Fire Commissioners in November, 2019.

Commissioner Kester grew up in the Spokane area and has a deep appreciation for just how fortunate we all are to live in this beautiful area. He believes that being involved in this community is not something to take lightly.

His background includes joining the United States Coast Guard (U.S.C.G) after high school and serving on a port firefighting boat doing search and rescue in Portland, Oregon.  After the Coast Guard, he attended the University of Montana earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Resource Management.  He then went on to work for the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Parks, serving in their Parks Department.

Spokane was the next step in his career. He  went to work for the Burlington Santa Fe Railroad and the next 22 years was spent as a conductor moving freight. Commissioner Kester  retired in 2010 after a workplace injury and now,  he and his wife enjoy making meals for World War II Veterans, helping out at the YMCA ,and providing meals for those in need.

“In the 25 years of being a resident of the Spokane Valley the professionalism of the SVFD has inspired me to take an active part in bettering our community. We have one of the best fire departments in the whole Pacific Northwest. My wife and I have 3 children and 5 grandchildren. I have dedicated my life to keeping them safe.  I want to apply that dedication to our community.  Keeping us all safe is a goal we should all aspire to in one way or another. Communication within the department and with the public is, and always will be one of my primary goals.”

Commissioner John Guarisco

Board Member since: August 27, 2018
Current six year term expires: December 31, 2027

Commissioner Guarisco was appointed to the Board of Fire Commissioners in August 2018 to fill an unexpired term and has served continuously since that time. Commissioner Guarisco founded Marjoni Marketing in 2004 and in 2010 merged with MDI marketing. He then pursued Real Estate, earning his license and now, currently serves the greater Spokane area as a licensed Realtor. He has long been active in the community and has won numerous awards during his career including the Volunteer of the Year (2014) and the Community Caring Award (2010) from the Greater Spokane Valley Chamber of Commerce.  He is a member of the Greater Spokane Valley Rotary Club and holds an AA degree from Spokane Falls Community College.

Note: As the individual appointed to this non-partisan position, Commissioner Guarisco was elected by voters in November 2019.

Commissioner Bill Anderson

Board Member since: January 1, 2000
Current six year term expires: December 31, 2023

Commissioner Anderson served our community as a Spokane Valley Fire Department firefighter for 29 years. Throughout his career, he worked as a firefighter, dispatcher and engineer before he was promoted and became an officer. He was Station Captain of Millwood Station 2 when he retired in 1999. During his years as firefighter, he was an active leader of Spokane Valley Firefighters Local 876 and served as a trustee on the Washington State Council of Firefighters for 25 years.

“It’s important to me that we continue the good service we’ve always given the people. We’ve accomplished a lot and are pulling in the same direction to get better. I’m very proud of the Spokane Valley Fire Department.”

Commissioner Brian Asmus

Board Member Since: June 14, 2021
Current term expires: 

Commissioner Brian Asmus was appointed to the Spokane Valley Fire Department Board of Fire Commissioners in 2021.

Commissioner Asmus is the former Liberty Lake Police Chief and current Director of Safety and Security at Central Valley School District (CVSD).

“Brian Asmus brings extensive Public Safety leadership experience, and a long history of being actively engaged in his community to his new role as a SVFD Commissioner,” said SVFD Fire Chief, Bryan Collins. “During his time as a Police Chief, Brian interacted with SVFD firefighters and administrators on a regular basis, making him very familiar with our structure, standing within our communities, as well as with many of our current SVFD board members and personnel. Brian’s experience working and collaborating on regional issues aligns nicely with SVFD’s philosophy and will help us continue to be a catalyst for local and regional excellence and innovation.”