Regardless of what season it is, it doesn't take long to realize the bicycling fraternity has taken Marquette by storm.
Even this week, when the first major snowfall of the season hit town, bikes were seen working their way up and down city streets and bike paths - some riders peddling for exercise and enjoyment while others were embracing a cheaper travel alternative to driving a motor vehicle.
This expansion of bicycle use in the area isn't by accident, either, with bicycling organizations and the city taking steps to make the city more bicycle friendly. These measures include such things as designing streets with bike lanes, expanding and maintaining bicycle paths and educating bicyclists and motorists about how both groups can travel in harmony.
In fact, just this week the Marquette City Planning Commission threw its support behind the effort to have Marquette once again be included in the Bicycle Friendly Community program sponsored by the League of American Bicyclists.
The program recognizes states, communities, universities and businesses that are working to make their area a place where bicycling is a safe and viable option for transportation and recreation, according to the league's website at www.bikeleague.org.
Part of that recognition involves submission of an application to the league to gain a platinum, gold, silver or bronze award, with Marquette being pegged at the bronze level in 2010.
The designation needs to be reviewed every four years, and the Marquette Bikeability Committee is preparing its renewal application for submission prior to the Feb. 19 deadline.
While advocating for communities to improve their bikeability is one of the main functions of the League of American Bicyclists, which was formed in 1880 as the League of American Wheelmen, another aspect of the league is educating bicyclists about the proper way to bike safely, which includes following traffic rules.
While we certainly encourage motorists to be aware of and respect the rights of bicyclists, we also encourage all bicyclists to be aware of and follow traffic rules, especially in the winter when roads can be slippery and visibility diminished.