Saturday, January 9

For Family and For Law

I'm a lucky guy. My wife doesn't read my blog too often, and she's had the discretion never to comment on it as far as I know (we can't be sure she's not "anonymous"). Since the female portion of the Steve A family is off doing Irish Dancing this weekend, I'll tell you about reason #36 and reason #37 why you, if you're reading this blog, want to take an "official" BikeLeague Traffic 101 Course, and probably more than that.

Brief Digression
If you live in North Texas, Bikedfw will be holding a course. Details are here. If you go to the Cycle*Dallas post, here, you'll see that you can get a $15 discount if you enter the discount code newyear-ts101. Further, if you live somewhere in Tarrant County or between Colleyville and the course location, email me if you want to take the course. I'm driving, I've got a bike rack that'll hold 4 bikes, and since I'm going, we might as well fill the darn thing up. Bike School is more fun if it's with people you know.

Anyway, back to reasons 36 and 37.

Reason 36 - Like a Funeral, Bike School is Partly for Friends and Family
I rode about 6000 miles last year. I took an unofficial bike school. I didn't have any close calls. I've ridden for 40 years. Still, my wife worries about me riding my bike. My co-workers, whenever they hear of an accident along my route, think of me. People tell me to "be safe," or they ask if I have a "safe" route to work. They don't do that when I drive to work. If I believe what I read, I'm not alone. Let me tell you right off, as I've done before. BICYCLING IS FUN AND SAFE. Given the amount of really STUPID bike riding that I see going on, it amazes me that only about 700-800 people are killed in the USA each year doing it. If you live in the US, you are half as likely to DROWN IN A CAR WRECK as die on a bike. Maybe we ought to make all drivers carry scuba gear just in case? Still, I know that the more bike education I take, the less my family and coworkers will worry about me. I think it's the same for most people that way. Alternately, look at it this way, bike education is a lot cheaper than a fancy casket, and a durn sight more useful, too!

Reason 37 - It May Save You From a Citation/Conviction
Face it, most cops are not well educated in law as it affects cycling. I was pulled over in 2009 by a Fort Worth Police Officer while I was riding safely AND legally. Fortunately, I wasn't cited or even threatened with same, and he really didn't even try to claim I was violating any law other than a nonexistent earphone ordinance. ChipSeal, here, was cited in 2009, and pulled over several other times. While you, as I have, may conclude that it is never a good idea to chat with a policeman when you are the object of his official duties, it is probably NOT a bad idea for that same policeman to know that you have completed formal bike education. What's more, if you are cited and go to court, being able to tell the judge that you are riding AS TAUGHT may avoid an improper conviction because you are instantly more credible.

These two reasons alone are enough to take the LAB Traffic 101 Course. What's more, if Keri Caffrey and Mighk Wilson come up with another, better course, I'll take that one too. Next week, I'll add my own, personal, Reason 38 - "do it for the Yeti."


Keri said...

Steve, I saw 3 Yeti yesterday! Thought of you.

Ed W said...

A couple of other points from a League instructor: First, the Smart Cycling course provides a newbie with the equivalent of a year's experience. Second, for those 'experienced' cyclists who think the course is beneath them - I thought the same thing. But it provides solutions to many cycling problems, and it's the very first step toward an instructors certificate. We know the bulk of cycling education is done informally through clubs, so it's a very good idea for some club members to take the course and share the knowledge.

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