The February message in the Bicycle Indiana calendar is Drive Your Bike! When we ride our bikes on the road, we are held to the same rules as motor vehicles. Ride with traffic. Obey the traffic signals. Stop at the stop signs. Turn left from the left-hand turn lane. Even on trails cyclists should stop at marked crossings when cars have the right of way and safely pass others on the trail on the left. (And it’s nice to announce you’re passing with a shout of “On your left” or the gentle ring of your bell.)
Most cyclists are familiar with these rules and understand how to drive their bikes. A few times a year we have the opportunity to take a class (Traffic Skills 101 and 201) from League Certified Instructors (LCI) in the area. The Traffic Skills classes designed to teach riders how to ride safely and legally on the roads and trails.
Many of the motorists we encounter on the road don’t realize the rights or responsibilities of cyclists on the road. And it’s not exactly a teaching moment when they are angrily passing us, yelling something we can’t understand, but we are sure is less than complimentary, out their window.
Take advantage of moments that are less heated. When we are in the car with our non-cycling friends around other cyclists, it’s a great opportunity to explain why you are driving around the cyclist the way you are and why the cyclist is driving their bike the way they are. Education is key and we can all play a role in helping the non-cyclist better understand how in just a few seconds they can get around the cyclist and we can all arrive home safely!
—Carole Terry, board member, Bicycle Indiana