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Bicyclists urged to be cautious on the 4th

JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. – With thousands of people expected to make their way to Jacksonville's beaches Tuesday for the Fourth of July, many of them may take their bicycles to try and avoid roads crowded with cars.

First Street  will be closed to vehicles Tuesday to provide access for bicyclists and pedestrians.

Beach and Bike, a local bicycle shop, said it sold more than 50 bicycles last weekend.

"This is a big biking holiday, so if you can't rent one or buy them ... or their bikes are worn out, so they want new ones," Beach and Bike manager Travis Morton said. 

Morton said the Fourth of July is by far one of the busiest times of the year at the beach and safety is key. For that reason, the Jacksonville Beach Police Department encourages every bicyclist to follow the rules of the road.

Officers said the biggest problem they experience are crashes between cars and bicycles, often because too many riders run stop signs. 

Morton encourages bicyclists to wear helmets and stay alert, especially while riding at night. 

"Have a light if they ride at night. That's a big thing for safety, and it's also a law -- to have bike lights," Morton said. "You have to pay attention. There's a lot of people out, but for the most part, it's pretty uneventful and everyone is pretty safe."

Morton said he sees people coming in with a lot of damage to their bikes, including bent rims and flat tires.

Jacksonville Beach police warn people to not leave valuables on the bike, and lock it up when parked so it won’t be stolen.