Published October 20, 2009
Volume 17, Number 10

Bike Safety Classroom and On-Road Sessions Slated for November

More and more commuters are opting to bike to work. Whether motivated by economic, sustainability, or health and fitness considerations, Bay Area workers are increasingly trading their car keys for bike locks. This past May, the 15th Annual Bike to Work Day saw an 86 percent increase in bicycling to the Dublin/Pleasanton BART Station, reports Dave Campbell, of the East Bay Bicycle Coalition (EBBC).

The upsurge in traffic highlights the need for safety education among bike commuters. In its role promoting bicycling as an everyday means of transportation and recreation, the EBBC is concerned with safeguarding the interest of bicyclists in Alameda and Contra Costa Counties.
To that end it offers free urban bicycle safety classes to show cyclists how to share the road with cars. These classes are focused on teaching cyclists how to “drive” a bike in varying traffic situations. 

Broken down into two sessions, the classes cover many areas that even experienced riders might not be aware of, from rules of the road to the signals necessary to communicate with drivers. Instruction centers around the concept of riding “predictably, so when motorists see you, they know what you will do,” Campbell relates. “The safest way to share the road is when the motorist knows what to expect,” he continues. “When a bike rider starts doing things differently, motorists can get confused. Sometimes they ignore the cyclist, but riders must claim their presence. Cyclists should ride on the street as if they were driving a car, and position themselves like a motorist.”

EBBC will be offering both parts of the safety class next month. The Traffic Skills 101 Classroom Session will be held at the Cultural Arts Building in Pleasanton on Thursday, November 5, starting at 6 p.m. The 3.5 hour workshop, which does not require a bike, teaches the basics of safe cycling, equipment and gear to maximize visibility, crash avoidance, and rider rights and responsibilities.

The Traffic Skills 101 On-Road Session will take place in Berkeley on Saturday, November 14, at 10 a.m. The 6.5-hour on-road course emphasizes emergency maneuvers, as well as riding in various traffic conditions. Setting out in small groups of four to five students, the “instructors find the busiest streets they can to teach how to be safe urban bicyclists. Students should be able get around anywhere once they graduate,” Campbell explains. Both classes, suited for experienced and beginning riders, are taught by instructors who are certified by the well-known League of American Bicyclists. 

The classes are funded in part by the Alameda County Transportation Improvement Authority’s (ACTIA) Measure B funds.  If you are interested in taking one or both classes, you can sign up online at www.ebbc.org/safety or by calling (510) 533-RIDE (7433).


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