JONESBORO, Ark. – We hear about too many accidents involving bicyclists and motorists in Jonesboro but an effort to educate could be the key in turning the tide.
This Friday and Saturday, a nine-hour course will be held for bicycle riders to improve their knowledge and skills on the road. Presented by the Northeast Arkansas Bicycle Coalition, the Smart Cycling 101 two-day course utilizes the League of American Bicyclists Smart Cycling curriculum and is based on the concept of “vehicular cycling.”
Much of the course is about strategy, such as where to be on the road, or how to lead bike rides safely, and the information is valuable to those just getting started or those who are more experienced, said NEABC Board Member Bill Smith, also a league cycling instructor for the League of American Bicyclists.
“It’s also made for the guy who’s pulling on his spandex and going for 100 miles but has never really thought about, ‘If i’m on a road and the road is X wide, where should I position myself to be most visible to cars and traffic?'” Smith said. “‘Where do I need to be on the road to have the least chance to be part of a crash?'”
Cyclists fare best when they are treated as and operate like vehicles on the road.
The course is two days and will feature both a classroom setting, on Friday, and an on-the-bike class Saturday morning. Smith said there is a plethora of useful knowledge to be had from the class, including the three biggest causes behind cycle-vehicle conflicts.
- Riding against traffic.
“He national statistics will tell you, you’re more likely to be hit by a car riding against traffic than with it,” Smith said.
- Blowing through stop signs and red lights.
“Because you are the driver of a vehicle and you are bound to obey those signs,” Smith said. “You’re likely to put yourself in harms way when you do that.
- Not being visible.
“If you ride at the edge of the road, you blend in with everything on the side of the road and cars don’t sometimes see you till they’re on you,” Smith said.
The two most recent accidents involving a bicycle and a vehicle in Jonesboro happened as a result of the cyclist not following tip one and tip two, Smith said. The hope is to stop future accidents before happening.
The two-day course details:
Friday evening — Classroom (no bicycle) Learn the basics of bicycle safety, strategies on efficient riding, how to make sure your bicycle is safe, rights and responsibilities of cyclists, road strategy and vehicular cycling.
Saturday morning — On the bike The outdoor skill portion covers crash avoidance, managing groups on the road, strategies for visibility, proper signaling and road positioning and general riding techniques. Helmet and safety equipment required. Ability to ride several miles at modest pace important for the skill portion. Must complete classroom section prior to participating in road skills.
Passing both parts earns the rider the LAB’s Smart Cycling certificate.
Minimum age to participate is 16 with parental approval.
Cost is $30 per person (includes both days).
To sign up or learn more, contact the NEABC at Facebook.com/NEABC or NEABikeCoalition@gmail.com. Smith said only a few spots are available, so email him soon if you want to get involved.
Another course will be held Nov. 18-19