Lots of talk about road rage, cyclists rights and what we can do to make cycling safer for everybody.
As a trend, people tend to say things like "why doesn't somebody do something" or "they, ie: the gov't, should do something", "they should make bike lanes". Always "they".
Why not us? Why don't you take on that responsibility.
Ideally, someone would write a big check and have some PSA's made for radio and tv, that would be the quickest way to educate the public. But there is no profit in said PSA's so that likely won't happen.
Well, what can "we" do to help "them" make our roads a safer place to ride?
In my opinion, we have to start with the kids.
How many of you have driven a vehicle with elementary/ middle school aged kids and they remind you of every single freaking traffic law in the book? 2 mph over the speed limit? Didn't use your turn signal? Following too closely? Yup, they will call you out on it every single time!
Why not use that to our advantage? Why not have a school based curriculum that teaches cyclists rights and etiquette in school or Driver's Ed? Because then, once again, we are relying on "them" and that is going to take a while and quite possibly forever.... never. Because in order to add/ change anything in a text book..... ugh.
What if "you" could make a difference? What if "you" could make a difference and only "sacrifice" 2 hrs, 1 day per week? Would you be willing to give that up? To offer your skills and talents to work with us in making our area more cycling friendly?
If you answered yes, let me recommend that you get involved in one of the many youth bike related programs in our area ( and yes, buckle up for a shameless plug, because I believe that I am making a difference that will affect every cyclist on the road)
Trips For Kids WNC and Asheville on Bikes both offer after school bike clubs at local middle and elementary schools. Each club meets after school, 1 day per week for about 1.5- 2 hrs. We start each club teaching the kids to do their own bike check, making sure their bikes are safe and ready to ride. We also discuss skills, riding etiquette, and how to properly ride on the road, including hand signals and other safety and awareness skills.
The Blue Ridge Bicycle Club offers Kid Bike Safety Rodeos, to offer the same skills that we offer in bike club, setting up a street scenario in a safe location for kids to practice what they learned.
And guess what? At some point, these kids will earn their driver's license, and be driving a car or a big truck. I believe that what we teach them now about bikes on the road, will encourage them to be more aware and understanding when they encounter cyclists.
So, if you want to make a change, invest in your future, and let's get together to teach these kids what they need to know to help make our roads a safer, more cycling friendly community.
Carve out 2 hours from your week and help the above programs, we have a great crew of volunteers and are always looking to expand, but we can't do it, if no one steps up to help out.
Contact us today:
Trips For Kids WNC: firstname.lastname@example.org
Asheville on Bikes: https://ashevilleonbikes.com/
Blue Ridge Bicycle Club: http://www.blueridgebicycleclub.org/
In closing, I want to give a huge thanks to all of our local bike shops that contribute in countless ways to keeping our youth ride programs running. We could not do it without their help. Please support them!