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My 24 year old son lives here in Berkeley, rides his bike to work and his various activities, including aikido and grocery shopping and evening events. He refuses to wear a bike helmet and the lights on his bike are often broken/stolen/or not functioning in general. He won't wear reflective clothing either.
I should add that he doesn't live at home, though we see him once a week for dinner at our house. He is very responsible in all other ways. He graduated from college, he has a job, he found his own health insurance, he pays all his own bills. He doesn't own a car, though he is welcome to borrow ours when needed.
I am beside myself with worry over the bike safety issue. I have tried talking to him about it. I offered to buy him a helmet. I have replaced his lights on every holiday you can imagine. I have tried not bringing it up.
Any ideas? My latest thought was mentioning that if he gets seriously hurt, he will wind up living back at home and will lose the independence he values so much.
We have a good relationship except for this. I would love some suggestions. Worrying MOM
Keep buying him lights, since those do get stolen, and encourage him to be visible and follow the rules of the road. But please don't discourage his biking - a car is more dangerous to himself, others, and the environment. Please look at this page to get some perspective on the actual level of risk from cycling: http://www.kenkifer.com/bikepages/health/risks.htm
Finally, unfortunately, a helmet would offer very little protection if he was struck by a car; a human body simply cannot withstand an impact with a large metal object, even with a helmet on its head. A fellow cyclist
I highly recommend that your son get a helmet and high visibility clothing. And, if he does any cycling after dark, a headlight and flashing taillight.
I have done much cycling over the years. I have ridden cross-country, extensively in Canada, and thru many Western and Eastern US states. For the last 20+ years, bicycling has been my main form of transportation to work between Alameda and Berkeley. My point is not to impress, but to point out I've ridden a lot and I'm out there almost everyday. I consider myself a very skilled and highly aware bicyclist.
In my earlier years, I would not even consider a helmet or any kind of fancy equipment. I still think jersies, riding pants, and bike cleats are for dorks or wanna-bes. Maybe your son does, too. Maybe, as I used to, he thinks he's too good of a rider for anything to happen to him.
What changed my mind was riding some 15+ mph down MLK Jr Wy at 530P and having a car door open in front of me with no time to stop, being ejected, landing in the middle of the street, and thereby left at the mercy of the trailing motorists to see me and stop in time to avoid running me over. That, and trip to the ER, the stitches, the 5 weeks off of work, and the permanent facial scars.
Since that day, I have worn a bicycle helmet and made myself as visible as possible when riding. That did not prevent the 2 other times I hit car doors that were carelessly flung open, most recently 3 months ago on Telegraph Ave south of campus, sending me to the ER for X-rays. Nor, the countless times I have had to take evasive action to avoid careless, indifferent, or even spiteful (yes) motorists.
I adapted to a helmet almost immediately. And, other safety equipment (lights, clothing, reflective material) is cheap insurance and quite unobtrusive.
Believe me, things are vastly different today. There are more cars on the road, they drive faster, the motorists are in a much bigger hurry, and they are more distracted (cell phone, DVD, IPod) and/or angry.
Tell your son it can happen to anyone. IT CAN HAPPEN TO HIM. And, in many situations, the most experienced bicylist won't have the skill and/or time to prevent it. Michael
avid cyclistV C Section 21201 Equipment Requirements Equipment Requirements 21201. (a) No person shall operate a bicycle on a roadway unless it is equipped with a brake which will enable the operator to make one braked wheel skid on dry, level, clean pavement. (b) No person shall operate on the highway a bicycle equipped with handlebars so raised that the operator must elevate his hands above the level of his shoulders in order to grasp the normal steering grip area. (c) No person shall operate upon a highway a bicycle that is of a size that prevents the operator from safely stopping the bicycle, supporting it in an upright position with at least one foot on the ground, and restarting it in a safe manner. (d) A bicycle operated during darkness upon a highway, a sidewalk where bicycle operation is not prohibited by the local jurisdiction, or a bikeway, as defined in Section 890.4 of the Streets and Highways Code, shall be equipped with all of the following: (1) A lamp emitting a white light that, while the bicycle is in motion, illuminates the highway, sidewalk, or bikeway in front of the bicyclist and is visible from a distance of 300 feet in front and from the sides of the bicycle. (2) A red reflector on the rear that shall be visible from a distance of 500 feet to the rear when directly in front of lawful upper beams of headlamps on a motor vehicle. (3) A white or yellow reflector on each pedal, shoe, or ankle visible from the front and rear of the bicycle from a distance of 200 feet. (4) A white or yellow reflector on each side forward of the center of the bicycle, and a white or red reflector on each side to the rear of the center of the bicycle, except that bicycles that are equipped with reflectorized tires on the front and the rear need not be equipped with these side reflectors. (e) A lamp or lamp combination, emitting a white light, attached to the operator and visible from a distance of 300 feet in front and from the sides of the bicycle, may be used in lieu of the lamp required by paragraph (1) of subdivision (d). Amended Ch. 723, Stats. 1979. Effective January 1, 1980. Amended Sec. 1, Ch. 232, Stats. 2007. Effective January 1, 2008.
avid cyclistV C Section 21212 Youth Bicycle Helmets Minors Youth Bicycle Helmets: Minors 21212. (a) A person under 18 years of age shall not operate a bicycle, a nonmotorized scooter, or a skateboard, nor shall they wear in-line or roller skates, nor ride upon a bicycle, a nonmotorized scooter, or a skateboard as a passenger, upon a street, bikeway, as defined in Section 890.4 of the Streets and Highways Code, or any other public bicycle path or trail unless that person is wearing a properly fitted and fastened bicycle helmet that meets the standards of either the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) or the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), or standards subsequently established by those entities. This requirement also applies to a person who rides upon a bicycle while in a restraining seat that is attached to the bicycle or in a trailer towed by the bicycle. (b) Any helmet sold or offered for sale for use by operators and passengers of bicycles, nonmotorized scooters, skateboards, or in-line or roller skates shall be conspicuously labeled in accordance with the standard described in subdivision (a) which shall constitute the manufacturer's certification that the helmet conforms to the applicable safety standards. (c) No person shall sell, or offer for sale, for use by an operator or passenger of a bicycle, nonmotorized scooter, skateboard, or in-line or roller skates any safety helmet which is not of a type meeting requirements established by this section. (d) Any charge under this subdivision shall be dismissed when the person charged alleges in court, under oath, that the charge against the person is the first charge against that person under this subdivision, unless it is otherwise established in court that the charge is not the first charge against the person. (e) Except as provided in subdivision (d), a violation of this section is an infraction punishable by a fine of not more than twenty-five dollars ($25). The parent or legal guardian having control or custody of an unemancipated minor whose conduct violates this section shall be jointly and severally liable with the minor for the amount of the fine imposed pursuant to this subdivision. Etc.... . Amended Sec. 6, Ch. 674, Stats. 1996. Effective January 1, 1997. Amended Sec. 1, Ch. 475, Stats. 2002. Effective January 1, 2003.
My son, 15, has grown up in an urban part of Oakland where he can't really ride his bike freely. And he learned to ride late, too, visiting in the country. Now he has two friends, very experienced cyclists, asking him to ride his bike to meet them in Montclair to swim this summer. I completely understand my son's wish to show up on his bike to meet them. But I don't even know how to picture this. He has never ridden his bike in traffic, ever. And to go uphill so far? And to come downhill? I was hoping to find some organized bike rides or groups for him (Sierra Club? Other?)--can anyone recommend anything like that? But he has his heart set on this other plan. Guidelines for saying no? Suggestions for what is appropriate for his age and experience level, and/or how to get him the practice he needs before setting him loose on the roads? And then if these boys also ask him to go on some long bike rides? I am not over-protective and am happy for him to do adventurous independent things with friends. I also don't want him to get hurt on his bike. Willing in Principle But Not in Practice (Yet?)
As a college student, I worked as a bicycle tour leader for younger teens and it was very challenging to get this age kids, who feel immortal, like to take risks, and who don't have the experience of being a driver, to understand road safety. But, a lot can be done to raise awareness, and the independence and physical fitness that comes with being a skilled cyclist is valuable!
A really good resource is the East Bay Bike Coalition, an advocacy group that has lots of safety information and offers classes about biking safely. The Missing Link, a bike shop on Shattuck, also has classes. And the SF Bike Coalition does, too. If your teen is interested in longer rides, checking out a cycling club can be a good idea and then he will have contact with more experienced adult cyclists who can share their skills and experience.
I'm a cyclist and a long-time driver, and one thing I see a lot that concerns me is ill-fitting helmets that would not do their job if the rider fell off the bike and hit their head. A well-fitting helmet is key. This means a somewhat uncomfortably snug chin strap! Also, as uncool as it may seem, brigh colored clothing help with visibility. best to you and your family, Ilene
Hi, I live in Berkeley and 90% of the time I travel around on foot. I occasionally drive a car, but not much. I have been increasingly aware of the bicyclists around Berkeley not following the rules of the road. Not stopping at stop signs, driving on the sidewalks, passing cars on the right. It is very dangerous and several times I have almost gotten hit by bikes as I am crossing the street. I have actually had a couple of bikes run into me coming around corners on sidewalks (when I was pregnant!). Cyclists act as if you are supposed to jump out of their way when they barrel down the sidewalks. When I am occasionally driving, I have had some very frightening experiences in near misses when they don't stop at 4 way stops like all vehicles are supposed to. Its as if they think they are exempt from these rules. I know it is probably difficult to stop when you are biking uphill, but I say, too bad, you still have to follow the rules. I know if I hit one of these cyclists when they ran a stop sign they would assume its my fault. They often pass on the right and then act like you are a bad driver when you make a right turn in front of them.
there anything that can be done? Can we call the police and ask them
to enforce the rules of the road for bicyclists as well as cars? Its
also not a very good example when trying to teach my children how to
I know this doesn't address your issue of unsafe and rude bikes around Berkeley, but I wanted to make the point that it's not as clear cut as 'bikes have to obey the rules too'. When cars treat us like pedestrians more of the time, it makes for terrible traffic flows and sometimes unsafe situations for bikes. We need to rethink our bike laws (and really our car-primacy in general). a conflicted biker
I have to agree though, now that I am stuck in my car more often, I see the wisdom of being more careful on a bike. I don't get the bicyclists who cut-off pedestrians and I assume this is not the majority. I'm sure the police have no time to do anything about this. Maybe more helpful - signs in the neighborhoods where you walk like they have in the state parks, where it shows that bikers must watch out for walkers. If bikers are riding on the sidewalks, they probably feel unsafe on the road, so advocating with a bicycling group for better bike lanes would be helpful. Do you have a city council? Those are good meetings to bring these issues up and that way work towards resolving them rather than just getting upset and seeing it go nowhere. Best of luck
Please don't lump all cyclists into the same category. Some cyclists are irresponsible, just like some drivers are. I am a 37-year-old mother of two. I don't barrel down the sidewalk. I don't ride on the sidewalk at all, in fact. I stop at red lights and stop signs. I signal my turns. If I ride at night, my bike is well-lit. I do, however, continue to ride on the shoulder with a line of stopped/slow-moving cars on my right, because it simply isn't practical to stop at the back of the line of cars when I have a clear path to the intersection ahead of me. And to the best of my knowledge, the CA vehicle code allows this. So look before you turn, please. Most of my friends, and most people who spend any amount of time on bikes, have the same sense of self-preservation that I do.
In my 15 years as a cyclist, I have been passed by cars in blind turns more times than I can count. I have had a number of drivers pass me, then cut me off to make their right turn. (One of them hit me; thankfully, I only had scrapes and bruises.) Once -- when I was pregnant -- I was riding through an intersection on a green light, and had a driver who had been stopped at the red light absentmindedly pull into the intersection and narrowly miss me. But do I rail against all drivers? No. There are good drivers, and there are idiots. And there are responsible cyclists, and there are idiots. Please don't lump us all in the same category.
Now that I've spoken out in defense of responsible cyclists, here's what to do about the idiots (on 4 wheels or 2). If you observe somebody breaking the law, engaging in reckless behavior, or endangering others, call the police and tell them what you saw. If you're calling from a cell phone in Berkeley, the police emergency line is 981-5911. And please stop stereotyping. Cycling Mama
My hope is that the campus and the City of Berkeley will launch ''Bicycle safety'' campaigns in the near future. I have witnessed (many times) cyclists nearly running down pedestrians in cross walks and on sidewalks; flying through stop signs and stop lights; riding the wrong direction on a one way street; weaving in and out of traffic; and many, many other transgressions.
My own small contribution to try to stem the tide of these unsafe practices is to stand in front of bicyclists coming toward me on the side-walk, to the point where the cyclist must stop, and ask them, politely, not to ride on the sidewalk. Concerned about bicycle safety as well
Although you ''know if [you] hit one of these cyclists when they ran a stop sign they would assume its my fault.'', you don't seem to realize that if you hit one of these cyclists, the cyclist will suffer much much greater damage than your car. Every time a cyclist gets on a bike, they are aware that they are vulnerable, and must ride defensively. Of course we pass on the right, because that's where the bike lanes are. Are we supposed to ride around you in the middle of traffic? If you put your signal on far enough in advance that we can tell what you're planning, we will go around your left as you make a right turn, but all too often cars don't signal, speed past, and then make a right turn directly in front of the cylcist - not realizing how fast cyclists go and how alarming it is to have to slam on your brakes as a car nearly kills you. Also, there's this thing called momentum, and stopping at every single stop sign kills it. Cyclists don't have to simply move their foot over 2 inches and press gently to move - it takes effort to ride. It is reasonable that a cyclist slow down, look around and if it's safe, continue on through a stop sign. It's called a rolling stop, and is legal in some states and hopefully will be here too someday. Sorry, I guess I'm beginning a rant of my own.
Finally, I find that pedestrians in Berkeley have taken their ''right of way'' to the extreme, often stepping out into the street without pausing or looking around, just because they know that traffic is supposed to stop. All three, drivers, pedestrians, and cyclists could benefit from empathy and consideration of one another.
PS - I agree that cyclists do not belong on the sidewalk, or going wrong way down the street. Bike Commuter
Bicycling is my primary mode of travel. I haven't driven a car in 15 years. I'm a mostly law-abiding, but sometimes timid cyclist, kind of like a lazy girl-scout: on the whole I follow the rules (signal and stop) and look like a nerd doing so. Occasionally I bend the rules, like slowing but not stopping at a four way stop if no one is coming.
I believe what you are observing is a general trend away from defensive cycling to offensive cycling. It's probably similar to what happened to drivers a few decades ago - I don't know because I have only lived in the Bay Area for 15 years: yes, the exact same amount of time that I haven't driven. Where I'm from, it was possible for someone to drive slowly and carefully. Not here. The norm is to drive 15 miles over the speed limit; to speed up to 40 miles an hour mid-block between stop signs. While most drivers do stop at stop signs, their behavior deplorable - not looking both ways, jumping their turn at four way stops, not signaling and blowing past the islands that are there to slow them down.
I think that cyclists now behave more and more like city bike messengers, staying one step ahead of the cars, protecting their own hide first. I am not a good enough cyclist to behave that way, so I place an unenviable amount of trust in the drivers around me. Other cyclists, especially kids and teens, have taken to the sidewalks as a defense mechanism. The stress that cyclists are under is evident. I was bicycling on Milvia through downtown and came up behind a slightly slower cyclist. I slowed down and stayed behind her. She wigged out and starting yelling at me...she thought I was going to pass her on the right. Mind you, I was a carlength behind her. She couldn't imagine someone might slow down and ride behind her willingly, or that someone might actually be polite.
In the end, I think reform needs to go much further than punishing bad bicycle behavior. I think that we need to rethink how we *all* share the roads. Without conscientious drivers, you cannot expect conscientious cyclists. In the meantime, I'm extremely hesitant to let my four year old cycle anywhere but the sidewalk. Robin
Other than having a cathartic gripe session, I'm not sure what would be more effective than getting out there yourself and setting a good example of how to ride a bicycle. It wouldn't hurt to let your local police and council members know your concerns; maybe they can allocate more resources to monitoring the problem.
I had to think about your right-hand turn comment. Go to http://bicyclesafe.com/ and check out "Collision Type #6: The Right Hook" to get the perspective of a cyclist. When driving, I look to my right to check for approaching cyclists (and pedestrians) before making a right hand turn. Hope this helps. Heather Ashcroft
I wish this were Amsterdam with its beautiful bike baths seamlessly making their way through the city. But it is not like that here. Riding is wonderful for the environment but we all have to follow rules. -Tired of righteous riders!
You do mention passing on the right a lot. I don't believe it is illegal to pass on the right (for anyone,) if you have a lane and can do so. Obviously not on a shoulder - read the rules put out by the DMV about passing on the right. I think you may be surprised - I was. If the bikes have a designated bike lane, they should be able to pass, why not?
Furthermore, there is a common assumption that bikes always go more slowly than cars, this simply is not true. When bikes are moving faster, they pass. Where are they supposed to pass, on the left? talk about dangerous! When anyone turns right, no matter what they are driving, they are supposed to signal AND look in their blind spot. otherwise it is unsafe and they are liable. I'm sorry I don't have much in the way of advise for you, I do think maybe you have some misconceptions about the actual rules of the road and about the mechanics of biking in the midst of cars, and you also have some good points about safety and hazards.
If bikes has the right of way over cars in places where they should and could, maybe they would be more inclined to stop and give way when they should as well. And not use sidewalks to ride on. mini-van driver
And then there are the bicyclists who run stop signs at 30 mph, and the ones who ride at night with no lights, and shout at you when you don't see them. It is completely unfair to set up some innocent driver to be their executioner.
When I ride a bike, I consider myself a vehicle (as the law says). I ride in the street, not on the sidewalk. I yield to pedestrians. I obey the rules of the road and stop for stop signs and red lights. And I find that car drivers here in Berkeley are remarkably polite. They stop and wait for me; they yield to me even when I have the right of way; and when they are parked at the side of the road, they check to see if bicyclists are coming. Why can't local bicyclists be as polite as the drivers?
I have news for the biker - when cars are turning right, they do not look behind then to see if someone ( a car, person bike ) is speeding up behind them and to the right.
People on bikes need to act like people driving cars - respectful. Wait in line to make the right, like a car does, and there will be no worry of you getting smushed.
I think riding on a sidewalk is a recipe for disaster - which i never do. I also can't stand when I see people holding up a line of cars ( i would never do that either - a little bit too high and mighty for me )
I think a lot of that mentality comes from many factors-for which i will not go into here. Signed a bicyclist and a car driver anon
When to Take the Traffic Lane: If there is no shoulder or bicycle lane and the traffic lane is narrow, ride closer to the center of the lane. This will prevent motorists from passing you when there is not enough room. You should also take the traffic lane when you are traveling at the same speed as the traffic around you. This will keep you out of motorists' blind spots and reduce conflicts with right-turning traffic.
Motorists Passing Bicyclists: Be patient when passing a bicyclist. Slow down and pass only when it is safe. Do not squeeze the bicyclist off the road. If road conditions and space permit, allow clearance of at least three feet when passing a bicyclist How may of you knew that? If a cyclist is biking in the middle of the road, chances are she is maintaining a safe distance from parked cars & doesn't want to get doored? When was the last time you checked before opening your door? Or signaled your turn? That is one of the most dangerous things for a cyclist, motorists who turn in front of them without signaling. Think about how many times you turn without signaling? Something that seems inconsequential and unimportant to you but could be pretty dangerous to a cyclist.
How many of you know the legal and safe way to turn right while driving on a street with a bike lane? Do you know why the line turns from solid to dotted at the intersection? If not, you do not know the rules of the road.
Yes, there are people out there who just don't follow the rules and they can probably give you a pretty good reason why. But, before complaining about all of the selfish cyclists out there breaking the rules, please make sure you know all of the rules of the road and are following them yourself. Berkeley resident
(1) children 16 and under are legally allowed to ride on the sidewalk in California. this is a safety issue as you wouldn't want your toddler to be run over by a car that doesn't see them.
(2) it is completely legal for a bicycle to pass on the right in the bicycle lane. furthermore, it is also legal for motorcycles to pass in between lanes if the traffic is below a certain speed. during rush hour, bicycles will often pass all the stopped cars waiting for the traffic light, as will motorcycles.
My suggestion is to practice a little yoga. Think about where the other person is coming from and give them the benefit of the doubt. Remember that every bicycle is one less car causing traffic that slows you down. anon
''A biker mentioned that if a car makes a right hand turn, and this was the ''bikers'' perspective, they almost got smushed, because the car made a right hand turn at a stop sign. I have news for the biker - when cars are turning right, they do not look behind then to see if someone ( a car, person bike ) is speeding up behind them and to the right.''
I was one of two people who wrote in to offer this perspective, and if you reread our posts, neither of us mentions cars turning right at a stop sign. In my case, I was approaching an intersection with no stop sign when a car passed me, then turned right just in front of me. We were both going 15-20 miles/hour, and I wasn't able to stop in time. I tried to avoid the car by turning right but instead bounced off the passenger door and went down. If I had blown through a stop sign, I would not be blaming the driver. As it was, she had just passed me 2 seconds earlier (in broad daylight) and should have known I was there. She was profusely apologetic, but said she never saw me. Cycling mama
If a bicycle isn't able to stop in time to avoid hitting a car ahead of it, that bicycle is travelling too fast. As another poster said, drivers of cars don't look BEHIND them when they are turning right. In fact, drivers are required to look in the direction they are going, and must look ahead to see if a pedestrian is in the crosswalk or a cyclist from the left blowing through the stoplight. So, please, bike at a speed that permits you to stop safely when you are in traffic. Sorry!
We may think that we are healthier here, but kids in Berkeley have essentially the same rates of childhood obesity as the rest of the country -- 1/3 of kids are overweight or obese. If our kids are going to have any chance to lead long and healthy lives, we need to make it easy for them to make the healthy choice, not force them to risk their lives to make exercise part of their daily lives.
If we're going to make it easy to bicycle, then bicycles should not be treated like cars. As a matter of public policy, we should be making it easy, enjoyable, and safe to get around by bike. That means understanding that bicycles need a lot of room to avoid parked cars so they don't get doored. That means understanding that bicycles can safely treat stop signs as yield signs. Our laws should change so that we encourage bicycling instead of discouraging it.
If our streets were more bicycle friendly, then more of our bicyclists would be normal, sane, risk-averse people. Right now, you take your life in your hands when you ride a bike, and so naturally, a lot of the people riding bicycles are daredevils. Make the streets safer for bicycles and bicyclists will behave more safely for pedestrians and cars. Hoping for a Healthy Community
So please pedestrians out there, remember to look both ways when you cross the road for BOTH cars and bikes because many of you think you have right of way when you actually don't. Biker, driver and pedestrian
Anyone riding a bicycle is insured under his or her homeowner's or renter's insurance policy, not by his or her auto insurance. If what I was told by this attorney is true, any homeowner (or renter with insurance) riding a bicycle in a reckless manner that causes damage, injury, or death is risking that they can be sued for payment from their homeowner's or renter's insurance. Legally, a bicycle-with-rider is a vehicle, NOT A PEDESTRAIN. Because a bicycle-with-rider is a vehicle, if a bicycle-with-rider hits a pedestrian, that bicycle-with-rider could be found guilty of assault with a vehicle or a wide variety of vehicular violations. Evidently, one of the most common ''reckless manner'' convictions when a bicyclist rides as though a bicycle-with-rider is a pedestrian. Also, because a bicycle-with-rider is a vehicle, NOT A PEDESTRAIN, four-wheeled vehicles are NOT REQUIRED TO STOP for a bicycle-with-rider, no matter just how privileged and oh-so-very superior that bicycle-with-rider believes himself or herself to be.
This attorney also mentioned, with emphasis, that a bicyclist who is not wearing appropriate head protection when an accident happens, regardless of who is found to blame for the accident, is risking that any insurance company can contend that that bicyclist was not taking appropriate precautions. If a bicyclist fails to take appropriate precautions, health insurance, life insurance, and homeowner's insurance companies can (and have) denied any payment of any kind from his or her contract of insurance. This attorney also told me that, to be a pedestrian, not a vehicle, any rider has to FULLY DISMOUNT from their bicycle. To be a pedestrian, the person has both feet on one side of the bicycle, and not be straddling the bicycle. It seems to me, it's way past time bicyclists pay attention to the traffic laws. Careful driver and more careful bicyclist
Here is a bit of starter information for getting involved in our communities: Berkeley: http://www.cityofberkeley.info/ContentDisplay.aspx?id=13086 Albany: http://www.albanyca.org/index.aspx?page=93 El Cerrito: http://www.el- cerrito.org/public_works/BikePed.html Oakland: http://www.oaklandnet.com/parks/news/041307a.asp John
My husband is joining me in this. We got rid of one car and want to see if we can make it being as eco and exercise-friendly as so many other cities seem to be able to be: Copenhagen, Amsterdam, Portland, even Paris and London. We were inspired by this after spending several weeks in London this summer and seeing how well it works.
It is terrifying out there on a bicycle, even sticking to bicycle boulevards (thank heavens for those) and following the rules. I have been yelled at for stopping at a light on the bicycle icon which the city has painted on the intersection for bicyclists to trigger the light. The car behind me couldn't see why I wasn't on the sidewalk. The same thing happened to my husband, who was almost intentionally bumped into by a car who just wanted him out of the way so that they could speed through the intersection when the light turns green.
I think it is clear that there are bad transgressions on both sides...I think the interesting point, is it on our best interest as a society to encourage bicycling, and how do we do it in a way that makes it safe and as non-contentious as possible for everyone?
In London, they are actively encouraging bicycle commuting. You can sign up for a two hour private coaching session in a park near to you when you start riding in a commute situation so that you can learn safety tips.
The point for me is that this isn't by itself the answer, but when we gave up our car, it wasn't for selfish reasons--it takes extra time and effort and TONS of planning and inconvenience to commute by bike (how are those cookies going to get delivered to the kids school?), but for us it is worth it as we want to help our community, and with traffic and global warming, not to mention the obesity epidemic that another poster brought up, we want to help by setting an example.
What I'd love to see is our community saying ''bicycles on the road are a net positive to our cities and our health--how can we work together, and work to push our city government--to evolve to make it work as well as it does in other cities here are abroad?'' a new bike convert
I am looking for a bicycle safety class (preferably Berkeley and on the weekend for a working mom) for my 14 year old son who just got a road bicycle and he wants to train on it this summer. He is preparing for a 200 mile school bike trip that he will be participating in this fall in high school.He has mostly rode with me in the past but during the summer he will be riding on his own and needs more instruction (my opininon). I have contacted East Bay Bike Coalition and they don't have any classes..nor does Missing Link where we bought the bike. Bike safety conscious mom.
In the end Dave Campbell, the chair of the East Bay Bike Coalition, said that if an adult/parent went to the class with him, my son could attend their safety course. Which is what he did. And I would highly recommend it. He is definitely more savvy about predicting driver behavior and taking precautions. Maybe if enough people express an interest in a teenager course the EBBC will organize one. You can reach Dave Campbell on: firstname.lastname@example.org (note just one ''L'') or 510-701-5971 Good luck. Tracey
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