Thursday, November 1, 2012

Rules for bicycle riding have changed over the years. Fortunately a free course is available

By: Lindsey Perkins Wade, ACD release
Arlington’s Community Development and Planning Department is providing a free bike safety class this November as part of the educational component of the Hike and Bike Planafter receiving a grant from the Arlington Tomorrow Foundationin 2011.
The first classes this year went well, according to Graduate Planner Christina Sebastian. “The participants that came out seemed to have a great time and get a lot out of it,” she said.
League of American Bicyclistscertified instructor Torrance Strong, 39, leads the classes.
Strong, who runs a bike messaging service and a nonprofit dedicated to empowering children through outdoor activities, believes every cyclist needs to go.
“The rules of cycling have changed,” said Strong. “Some people need a refresher course, and others need to be brought up to speed on the laws.”
Strong also reviews common gaffes during the class before everyone sets out for a ride on Arlington streets. The main one? Riding against traffic. “The law does specifically state that your bike is a vehicle and has to follow the same rules,” Strong said.
Besides the obvious plus – that the class is free –Strong and Arlington resident Danielle Call stress safety as the primary factor for attending the five-hour class.
“It’s your responsibility as the cyclist to know the rules of the road to keep yourself safe and keep motorists safe,” Call, who attended the September class with her husband, said.
“It’s about feeling safe around cars and gaining more knowledge and feeling comfortable when you get on your bike the next day,” Strong said.
Class Details
  • Who: Arlington residents age 16 and older. Teens age 13-15 can attend if parent is present, but parent does not have to join activities.
  • What: Learn about bike safety from start to finish, including pre-ride inspections, emergency maneuvers and how to change a tire. Participants must take an online course before attending. The class concludes with a ride to a Downtown Arlington restaurant for lunch.
  • When: Nov. 17 from 9:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. Registration deadline is Nov. 10.
  • Where: City Hall
Residents can sign up and find more detailed information on the Bike Safety Course webpage.
By Lindsey Perkins Wade

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