Saturday, July 19, 2008

Bicycle safety and education

Many more people are riding bikes in these days of $4+/gallon of gas. I see twice as many people riding on the roads in the areas where I ride. I think the increase is not only due to the price of gas, it's also due to concerns about air pollution and global climate change.

With more riders will come more conflicts between cars and cyclists. We all need to be careful when out on the roads. Motorists need to be aware of the presence of cyclists on the road and on sidewalks and trails. We at FABB feel strongly that riding on the road is generally more safe than on sidewalks or trails. When on the road we are part of traffic, and motorists are looking for other traffic and they are not always looking for bicyclists who may be riding counter to traffic on a sidepath.

This report on MSNBC entitled Deadly tension on the roads — cars vs. bikes: Accident toll rises as gas-shocked commuters opt for bicycles, discusses recent conflicts between cyclists and motorists: “I believe it’s definitely going to cause some problems, because people don’t know how to share the road with cyclists,” said Kirk Hendricks, director of advocacy for the group Idaho Cycling Enthusiasts. “[Drivers] need to know that we have as much right as an automobile even though we’re not as big.”

We can all share the roads, but we need the proper skills to do it safely. On the WABA website you can find listings for their Confident City Cycling classes as well as a number of classes taught by Allen Muchnick in Northern Virginia. There is a good video clip on the above mentioned MSNBC site, Back on the bike, learning to ride later in life and the recent surge in cyclists.

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