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.

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