Last night I took my first in a series of four classes on Bicycle Traffic Safety. Now that I am now riding longer and further on the road, I thought the course would be a good idea. In fact, two of my best riding buddies are taking the class with me.
The course is designed to teach us to operate our bike safely, confidently and legally. It teaches to "drive' our bikes on the road, bike lanes and on multi-use trails (like the Rail/Trails). An added benefit is learning routine bike checks/maintenance and emergency bike repairs like changing a flat (BikeWalkConnecticut.org).
Last night's class began in an empty parking lot. We began by doing an ABC (air, brakes, crank/chain) check on our bikes, to make sure they were in proper working condition before we started. Helmets are mandatory safety gear.
We practiced some basic skills like the most efficient way to start, stop, and turn. We then progressed to emergency stopping, emergency avoidance of a rock in the road, going over pot holes, emergency avoidance turn in case a car unexpectedly turns in front of us.
We then moved inside to the class room to view a 20 minute video of 2 cyclists demonstrating the skills we just practiced. The video also demonstrated proper signalling and lane usage while riding on the road. It was very well done.
After the first class, I am excited to take the rest of the course. The next classes build our cycling skills until we are comfortable "driving" in heavy traffic and various road/trail conditions. Cyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as motorists on the road. I believe if we want motorists to respect cyclists, we have to be responsible, law abiding, safe "drivers" as well.
Just thought I would throw in the following Monty Python Bicycle Repairman video (via CentralWheel.com) for a little fun. Enjoy!