Brandon Blankenagel, Senior Engineer, Integrated Capital Management, No Phone Number Available
Tuesday, April 22, 2014 at 9:12 a.m.
Bicycle commuting can be a challenge. Particularly, when trying it for the first time. There are routes to select, bike maintenance, wardrobe needs, weather considerations, timing, and fitness requirements that all contribute to the stack of reasons to just grab your keys instead of your helmet as you walk out the door. Wet weather is the most likely excuse for me to leave the bike home.
One major issue holding back many potential bicycle commuters is safety. It’s pretty clear that bicycles do not have air bags or seat belts, and it’s easy to predict who loses in a bicycle-car collision.
However, I still invite you to try bicycle commuting. Risk is inherent to all types of travel, and for each type of travel there are simple practices that reduce risk. Some practices reduce risk of injury in the event of a collision, while other practices directly reduce the risk of a collision. A successful bicycle commuter has turned these practices into skills.
This is not a list of all the “proper ways to ride a bike in traffic,” but I do want to encourage one key thing:
While it may be tempting to opt for the sidewalk or to put your foot on the curb at intersections, consistently remaining WITHIN the roadway shows other vehicles that you are acting as a car would act. Drivers know how to respond to drivers, so DRIVE your bike.
Before going out on your first ride in the street, please review these documents to prepare yourself for bicycle travel:
Also, the League of American Bicyclists has prepared a course, “Smart Cycling – Traffic Skills 101”, to teach cycling skills to prepare for and ride in the road. Spokane has certified instructors offering this course in the coming weeks and months. Check it out their brochure (PDF 72 KB).
If you would like one-on-one help with choosing the safest route, getting through a difficult area or even a test ride for your ride to work, contact SpokaneBikeBuddy@aol.com. The Bike Buddy program is a free service from the Spokane Bicycle Club.
Like many things, commuting is not difficult, but does take a bit of preparation. We hope to see you out on the streets for Commute of the Century!