Bicycle Safety and Driver Alertness Month

Woman with a step-through frame bicycle in the...

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You may have trouble finding this anywhere else, as the local media so far have largely ignored the idea, but here is the actual text of the proclamation that Cedar Rapids Mayor Ron Corbett made on Labor Day during the Linn County Mayors’ Bike Ride:

Whereas, the bicycle is a practical and environmentally sound form of transportation that is used daily by thousands of Iowa citizens for both recreation and commuting; and

Whereas, residents will experience the joys of bicycling through educational programs, races, trail riding, charity events, commuting to work or simply venturing out to enjoy the weather; and

Whereas, rising concerns about health, fitness, increased energy costs and the environment have increased the number of cyclists on our roads in recent years.  Motor vehicles and cyclists are obligated to share the state’s roadways; and

Whereas, Bicycle Safety and Driver Alertness Month asks cyclists to share the road, safely accommodate motorists, wear the proper safety equipment and riding gear, strictly follow all laws of the road, operate with extreme caution and learn expert techniques that provide for a heightened level of safety while riding; and

Whereas, it is a privilege to recognize Cedar Rapids’ appreciation for the outdoors, and remind all citizens of their responsibility to be safe and alert so that everyone may equally exercise their right to enjoy our wonderful community.

Now therefore, I, Ron J. Corbett, Mayor of Cedar Rapids, Iowa do hereby declare September, 2010 as:

“Bicycle Safety & Driver Alertness Month”

in Cedar Rapids and encourage all citizens to identify and learn the various aspects of bicycle and motor vehicle safety as it relates to sharing our public roads in an effort to make Cedar Rapids’ streets some of the safest in the state.

Thanks, Mayor Corbett.

A quibble, if I may:

I probably would have asked the motorists to share the road in that fourth paragraph. They’re the ones piloting the big, heavy machinery after all.

Anyway, here’s hoping a lot of motorists get the message about being alert – maybe even some that weren’t there to hear Corbett read it aloud. Most of those folks were on bicycles, right?

Spread the word.

Pedal on.

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5 Responses to “Bicycle Safety and Driver Alertness Month”

  1. 1 Frank September 7, 2010 at 6:57 pm

    Interesting that bit in paragraph four.

    I observed Mayor Corbett display a tad bit of poor riding etiquette at 3 Ave and 10th St SE.
    He was in the far left lane (left turn only) and riding straight through. At the same time, a motorist was behind him, attempting to turn left from 3rd Ave onto 10 St.
    I was behind this and carefully observing for a possible “event” as I saw the car approaching the group in general, and the mayor specifically, from behind.

    Actually, the motorist dealt with this pretty well. The group included many riders that are obviously not experienced riding on streets. Even worse than Ragbrai: riding slowly on the left, filling darn near the whole street, weaving, etc. Not that I’m trying to be critical, just observing inexperienced riders.

    Most of these riders just do not know. Also, I think the route was intended to take the left lanes up 3rd Ave.

    All this reinforces my opinion that all (motorists and cyclists alike) could use some education. I think many motorists want to do the right thing, but just don’t know what to do, and don’t know what to expect cyclists are going to do (if they are riding correctly.)

    I think it would be beneficial to perhaps have some “PSA” type ad’s in the general media (like that large local newspaper) showing examples of proper etiquette. Some things are simple, like riding in the right-most straight through lane. Some are counter-intuitive, like taking and holding the lane.

    Could also show examples of why riding against traffic is so dangerous, especially at intersections. Some people intuitively think they are better off riding against the traffic. They have just not thought through what happens at intersections and where drivers are programmed to look for conflicts.

    I think one of your earlier posts was to a locality where the local police made a video of proper cycling and motorist interactions. Coming from Police has authority that a cyclist source could never garner with motorists.


  2. 2 bjsmith September 7, 2010 at 8:46 pm

    Frank, when I’ve been a ride leader or participated in group rides like that, one thought has consistently come to mind: herding cats. When you get more than 2 or 3 people on bicycles together, it’s like that unless you have a clear understanding that you’re going to ride in a paceline and do certain things.

    I would not count on the general, mainstream media to go near anything like a PSA or series of them, although I think you have a great idea that some should be created. A series of simple youtube videos demonstrating some basics would be great.

    Apparently the CRFD is taking on some responsibility for educating the public on bicycling safety. I’ll look forward to hearing more about how they’re going to do that.

  3. 3 Frank September 14, 2010 at 12:46 am

    Is that CRFD or CRPD?

  4. 4 bjsmith September 14, 2010 at 7:22 am

    CRFD — the fire department. I was surprised it wasn’t CRPD, too.

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