Saturday, March 17, 2012

Bicycle Safety 101: Traffic Skills Class

With all the warm weather, I've seen a lot of cyclists out. There are quite a few of the "spandex" crowd out - but I hope that someday soon, in the coming years, there will be more bikeway facilities for riders of all ages and skills - kids, teens, families and senior citizens - in communities and places the Upstate.

There are a lot of cyclists in South Carolina, which isn't surprising considering how nice the weather for longer stretches as compared to other northern places in the country. I've seen them in downtown Seneca, Walhalla, Clemson, Anderson, in some smaller towns like Central, Pendleton and on back country roads. However, the State is one of the least safest places to ride in the country. Why is that?

So many cities across the state could take advantage of people's interest in biking. In the Upstate, many are taking their lives into their own hands as they ride in roadways that aren't designed or properly signed to alert drivers to the presence of cyclists. There isn't a strong bike culture here (yet), and many drivers don't know how to react when cyclists are sharing the road with them.

Though I wish there was more opportunities for drivers to learn more about cyclist, the City of Greenville is offering a Bicycle Traffic Skills 101 course on Sunday, April 29. For those that follow the League of American Bicyclists, the course is a prerequisite for becoming a certified League Cycling Instructor. Topics cover include how to fix a flat tube (tire), bicycle safety checks, crash avoidance techniques and other things. It's aimed at adult bike riders, and is a great course, especially for anyone who hasn't gotten on a bike since they were a kid. I highly recommend it.

If you're not able to or in the area, check out other opportunities to brush up or learn new biking skills. With spring breaks and summer vacations not too far off it's the time of year that bike riding is on the rise. Consider taking this course, especially if you'd like to ride to work during National Bike to Work Month in May or if you're contemplating riding to work as gas prices are on the rise again.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

City of Clemson Bike Survey

As I posted a little while back, the City of Clemson has posted their bikeways survey online. They'll have it open, through early April 2012. The survey takes about 7 minutes to complete, and has a lot of good questions about what YOU think needs improvement - as a cyclists and as a driver. That means your auto-driving friends should take it! Encourage them - it's not just about the "bikies." Results from the survey will be used to help with bike plan (trails, bike lanes, etc.) implementation in the coming years. This is the opportunity for the public to comment on the issues, needs, concerns and opportunities for biking in Clemson. Take the time to complete the survey.

Bike plan developments and updates have also been presented to the Planning Commission, creating institutional by-in and developing relationships with the decision makers.

Take the survey, consider attending any future meetings and get involved!  (Whether you're in Clemson or in your community.)

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Advocacy All-Star Line Up

If you follow national biking advocacy, you would know that there are many organizations that are trumpeting for better biking policies, funding opportunities and more people to get on their bikes and ride. It's awesome that we have so many committed people. However, with many organizations, it can end up sounding like "too many cooks in the kitchen."

Three of the major groups - the Alliance for Walking and Biking, Bikes Belong and the League of American Bicyclists - have agreed to look at consolidating their best pieces to one group! It's like taking the all-stars of biking advocacy and forming a best team possible! Each organization has a slightly different focus, and by joining together, they can use their expertise and support one message - strongly! Check out more on the story here.