Saturday, February 20, 2010

Your Two Main Responsibilities as a Bicyclist: #1 Don't Fall off Your Bike! and #2 Don't Let Anyone Else Knock You off Your Bike

I've been telling students, bike club members, and Earn-a-Bike recipients at the Bike Co-op the above two "primary responsibilities" recently.  This is far better advice, in fact, than telling students to "respect the law" and "wear a helmet."  As Michael Bluejay points out, you can still get killed riding your bike with a bike helmet on!

Michael Bluejay has a lot more to say about this.  You can read about him at this link.  And to read more about his advice, read below and then link to his Bicycle Safety web site.  

From Michael Bluejay:
This is a far cry from normal bicycle safety guides, which usually tell you little more than to wear your helmet and to follow the law. But consider this for a moment: Wearing a helmet will do absolutely nothing to prevent you from getting hit by a car. Sure, helmets might help you if you get hit, but your #1 goal should be to avoid getting hit in the first place. Plenty of cyclists are killed by cars even though they were wearing helmets. Ironically, if they had ridden without helmets, yet followed the guidelines listed below, they might still be alive today. Don't fall for the myth that wearing a helmet is the first and last word in biking safety. In truth, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. It's better to not get hit. That's what real bicycle safety is about.

The next most common bike safety advice after "wear a helmet" is "follow the law," but most people are already aware that it's stupid to race through a red light when there's cross traffic. So the "follow the law" advice isn't that helpful because it's too obvious.What you'll find here are several scenarios that maybe aren't that obvious.
The other problem with the "follow the law" message is that people may think that's all they need to do. But following the law is not enough to keep you safe, not by a long shot. Here's an example: The law tells you to ride as far to the right as is practicable. But if you ride too far to the right, someone exiting a parked car could open their door right in front of you, and you'll be less visible to motorists pulling out of driveways and parking lots, and motorists coming from behind may pass you way too closely in the same lane because you didn't make them change lanes. In each of these cases you were following the law, but could still have been hit. This page doesn't focus on the law, it focuses on how to not get hit by cars. Now let's see how to do so.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Bike Co-op Offers Series of Bike Safety Classes

The Bike Co-op will offer a series of nine bike safety classes beginning February 25 and continuing through April 17. This is a buffet -come for the entire feast or just for the courses that appeal to you. There is no cost except for those who need this as a prerequisite for a League Cycling Instructor seminar.

The class will be coordinated by Rick Price and by other League Cycling Instructors (LCIs) in the community.

This class brings together forty years of Smart Cycling curriculum developed by the League of American Bicyclists for both novice and experienced riders. There is something for everyone here. You may attend only the classes that interest you although if you wish to receive a certificate for completing the class you must attend all sessions and take an exam. There is no charge for the class unless you wish to receive the certificate. In that case the fee is $60 ($30 for students and educators). ANYONE interested in becoming a League Cycling Instructor (LCI) needs to take this entire class and an exam to get the Traffic Skills 101 certificate (a prerequisite for your LCI). Otherwise just come for fun!

The first 8 classes are 1 hour and 15 minutes each on Thursday nights at the Fort Collins Bike Co-op. There will be no class during Spring Break (March 18) The last class is a three hour on-road class Saturday, April 17th.

AND please tell your friends.

Classes begin at 7 p.m. at the Bike Co-op at 331 North College Avenue.

Feb. 25 – Vehicular Cycling Philosophy and Practice (What this class can do for youth, adults, beginning cyclists, educators, commuters, and motorists);

March 4 – Picking a bike: what kind of bike should I buy ?

March 11 – Bike Maintenance Basics (very basic: replace a tube; patch a tire; simple brake and derailleur adjustments);

March 18 – Spring Break – NO CLASS;

March 25 – Safety equipment, Bike Clothing, accessories, & on-the-bike tools for commuters, recreation and touring;

April 1 – Principles of Traffic Law (in general and in Colorado);

April 8 – How crashes happen and how to avoid them;

April 15 – Riding basics (classroom);

April 17 (Saturday) Bike Handling basics – Parking lot drills (1.5 hours); On-the-road practice (1.5 hours)

Take a look at the League of American Bicyclists web site for other classes we are offering this spring.

Call Rick Price if you have question: 970-310-5238.