1. Bicycling education is transportable. If you move from Portlandia to Hostilia, you take your expertise with you, possibly even changing some of those grumpy people in Hostilia into new bicyclists.
2. The LAB is the master of its educational programs. LAB can maintain and administer them independent of external funding, if neccesary, and with or without (hopefully, with) cooperation with fickle governments and government programs. Although the NMDoT apparently de-funded its relationship with our state League Cycling Instructors (LCIs), the LCIs remain. Just call us.
3. Cyclists need to be masters of their own fate (i.e., the layers of safety concept) by understanding how to ride in traffic and how to maintain their bicycles. Having that level of expertise, and the knowledge of how crashes happen, the situationally-aware cyclist is empowered to avoid trouble, less likely to break laws, more comfortable in traffic, better able to handle a wide range of facilities, and is a better example to new cyclists.
4. Non-cyclists need to understand cycling, thus the need for cycling education to be disseminated to the general public. As cyclists, one of our biggest burdens (aside from behavior that produces many self-inflicted wounds) is non-cyclists making mistakes that put us at risk and meanwhile, making demands of us that put us at risk.
Cyclists who are knowledgeable about how crashes happen and how they should ride on our streets are much better critics of street and roadway design. At a time when more people are getting on bikes and when the government is experimenting with new designs (such as found in NACTO) as well as using old ones (such as found in AASHTO), the educated cyclist needs to be engaged in the planning process. An example of a flawed design can be seen on Streetsblog showing a brand new bike lane in Detroit that has its outboard stripe flush with parallel parked cars, thus creating a door-zone bike lane. So faced with a diversity of both good and bad designs, friendly and ambivalent communities, and coming to the table with different levels of expertise, cyclists gain power and credibility when the cycling community becomes better educated and more streetwise. With programs such as the LAB's Traffic Skills classes taught by several thousand LCIs, and the expanding availability of the CyclingSaavy program, its becoming easier and easier to obtain this expertise. Go get it if you have not done so already.
|New Detroit Bike Lane|
A better design might have eliminated some or all
of that center median, or used sharrows
(photo from Streetsblog article)
|Central Square, Cambridge fatality (Dana Laird). |
The cyclist , who was doored, might have
grazed the opened car door with the handlebar
and performed an instant turn under the bus
photo from John Allen's site
Are these enough reasons to become a better cyclist?
In other news, Jonathan Maus, in Bike Portland, reminds us of the need to use language carefully and avoid loaded words and phrases when discussing cycling issues. Good points, Jonathan.