Not riding is not an option for improved bike safety: Get Out There!
June 7-11, 2010 (Next week!!!)
“Every hour on the bike, is one hour spent in perfect balance”
~ mountain bike champion & bike advocate Jacquie Phelan.
Stating the obvious: people are increasingly riding bikes. In Traverse City, it’s difficult to not notice the increasing numbers. Many more people are waiting in the wings, ready to ride as a real transportation option, if only they had a little push. One block to increasing ridership that continually gets raised is uncertainty about safety and rules of the road.
MyWHaT is not a good resource on this issue, however, MyWHaT underwriter TART Trails is an excellent source. TART even has a free bike commuter class this June 22 taught by League of American Bicyclists Certified Instructor.
If you want to learn more on your own, The League of Michigan Bicyclists also has an extensive down-loadable brochure entitled:
Not that complicated
My contribution begins with the premise that biking is one of our safest transportation options. We have a lot of perceived fears that can be overcome with practice.
Safety in numbers, it’s a virtuous cycle. The more riders we have, the better we will be in handling both real and perceived safety concerns. Not only does it make us all more visible, it also places pressure on local governments to start building more inclusive streets-show them how we want it: Walk it, Bike it, Drive it–Slow).
MyWHaT can also offer these basics:
- Get on a bike, any bike.
- Relax and ride; ‘there’s nothing to fear, but fear itself‘.
- Be confident & sexy.
- Be visible.
- Make eye contact.
- Be aware.
- Ride with friends and enemies alike.
- Get on the street and know, you ARE normal. It’s transportation.
- Be aware of the rules & conflict points. (This link is packed full of sound advice).
- Promote road safety education for and as motorists. (Let’s face it, it’s the drivers that are a safety issue)
- Advocate for intentional design of streets for all users. (It will help with your confidence).
What’s missing? Uh-oh, the helmet. Yes, of course. I say, wear a helmet, but don’t let the absence of one stop you from riding and don’t believe just because you are wearing a helmet that you are free from incident.
There is evidence that challenges the strong helmet promotion and discussion that the passing of helmet laws may actually decrease ridership. The latter is an important issue because nothing will make the streets more safe than increasing the number of riders. The helmet debate is one that continues to divide people and I’m skirting the issue today. All I can say is sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t.
In summation, the main point, get out and ride.
Please add your opinion and safety advice, or question, here. If I can’t answer it, I’m certain someone will.