Bicyclists are entitled to high quality training and education, from the earliest grades through adulthood, so that they can learn their rights and duties to visibly, predictably, and cooperatively participate in traffic as drivers of vehicles. Being taught to act as drivers will allow bicyclists to take advantage of the travel connectivity and efficiency of the existing road network with the lowest risk possible. This includes learning the common hazards and how to avoid them, just as motorists are taught in traffic skills (AKA driver education) classes and in more advanced defensive driving courses.
Bicyclists also need to learn the special hazards posed by many on-street bikeways built to inadequate standards, and how to avoid or mitigate the danger. Bicyclists also need to learn the different operating rules and best practices for navigating shared use pathways with pedestrians, to protect the safety of bicyclists and pedestrians on the path, and their own safety at road crossings.
Transportation professionals are also entitled to high quality education about the spectrum of bicyclist behavior, the difficulties and poor behavior created by many “minimum standard” road and bikeway designs, and how to follow the best practices for road and bikeways designs. The best practices foster driver behavior and at the same time minimize the design risk for travel on roads and bikeways. These efforts will eventually culminated in an I Am Traffic Best Practices Guide, currently under development.
Law enforcers are entitled to high quality education about bicyclists’ rights and duties, the spectrum of bicyclist behavior, the dangers of poor/unlawful behavior, and how enforcement can improve behavior through citations and diversion programs. Enforcers also need to be educated about crash investigation and fault assignment, their effect on liability in civil/criminal cases, and how improved collision reporting will improve cyclist education and facility design to address the causes of the collisions.
Elected officials and advocates also need to learn about bicyclists’ rights and duties and how they are expressed through all six Es. Education programs targeted at these groups will help them understand the importance of driver behavior and how to best support the full spectrum of bicyclist behavior on streets and on bikeways.
Because of the importance of education to all of the above groups, I Am Traffic is committed to delivering CyclingSavvy, Journeys from Home, Understanding Bicycle Transportation, Enforcement Education, and Presentations for Policy-makers for cyclists, planners and engineers, enforcers, and elected officials respectively.
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CyclingSavvy is a traffic cycling course developed for the Florida Bicycle Association. The course teaches the principles of Mindful Bicycling:
- empowerment to act as confident, equal road users;
- strategies for safe, stress-free, integrated cycling;
- tools to read and problem-solve any traffic situation or road configuration.
The course is offered in three 3-hour components: a bike-handling session, a classroom session and an on-road tour.
The object of the course is not to turn people into road warriors. Being a confident, competent cyclist has nothing to do with speed or bravado. You don’t need either of those things to have access to the entire transportation grid.
Even most confident cyclists prefer to use quiet routes when feasible. In many cases, it is only an intimidating intersection or short stretch of busy road that hinders a cyclist’s preferred route. This course is designed to show students simple strategies to eliminate such barriers, and ride with ease and confidence in places they might never have thought possible.
Journeys from Home
Created in Montana, Journeys from Home (JFH) provides a model for giving children and youth the experiences necessary to acquire the tools and knowledge that will allow them to travel safely and predictably under their own power in their own community.
Since the 1970s, JFH has been developing and implementing countermeasure procedures to educate children, parents, teachers, law enforcement personnel and total communities. They are currently developing the next generation of training materials brought forward by the children (now adults with kids) that were involved and trained with the original program. This next generation of developers offers tools and experiences never before imagined in an injury prevention program. They have survived their Journeys from Home and share a committed appreciation for quality education and the freedom it gave them. It is their experiences and observations that make this new generation of materials come to life.
Learn more about Journeys from Home and how experienced trainers can help you make it a part of your community at Journeysfromhomemontana.org.
Understanding Bicycle Transportation
The “Understanding Bicycle Transportation” workshop is an opportunity for Planners, Engineers, Landscape Architects and others involved in transportation planning, project development, design, project management, programming, landscape architecture, construction, local assistance, traffic operations, encroachment permits and maintenance to increase their knowledge and skills in the following areas:
- State and Federal goals, policies, regulations, and laws that address bicycle transportation.
- The rights and responsibilities of bicyclists under the State Vehicle Code;
- Bicyclist needs and expectations as users of transportation facilities;
- Safety, mobility and access issues; bicyclist travel behaviors that maximize safety and mobility;
- Maintaining bicyclist safety, mobility and access through work zones.
- Applying transportation planning, traffic operations, and design “best practice” principles to maximize bicyclist safety and mobility and support “Complete Streets” policies.
By the end of the workshop, attendees are able to more fully understand and apply guidance found in the State or AASHTO Highway Design Manuals, State or Local Project Development Procedures, State and Federal MUTCD (Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices), and other State and Local guidance documents, and implement State “Complete Streets” policies.
Bicyclist Safety and Law Enforcement
This program was developed in Raleigh, NC, by the North Carolina Active Transportation Alliance. It is currently being adapted for use by other cities in North Carolina. The program has received high praise by both police and bicyclist advocates and can provide a model for police education around the country.
The program includes the following essential components:
- A detailed presentation of how traffic law defines the rights and duties of bicyclists and other drivers on roadways and how this relates to safety
- A list of priority violations by bicyclists (cycling at night without lights, wrong-way cycling, failure to yield at junctions, and unsafe operation on sidewalks)
- A list of priority violations by motorists (drunk/distracted driving, failure to yield at junctions, improper right turn, driving too fast for conditions, unsafe passing)
- Discussion of effective methods for dealing with bicyclists and motorists during bicycling-related traffic stops
- Analysis of common causes of local bicycle crashes based on local police reports. Such crash data provides a compelling justification for the existing rules of the road and the prioritization of traffic violations.
- Discussion of bicycle-specific facilities such as shared lane markings and bike lanes.
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