Posts Tagged 'League of American Bicyclists'

Rules to bicycle by…

In today’s snail mail, the Smith Family got a request for additional fundage from the League of American Bicyclists. (Our dues are due, too, coincidentally.)

The LAB also included a handy little card listing the Rules of the Road, which we’re told we should follow not only to avoid getting hurt, but to show the non-cycling public that we’re not all careless scofflaws.

You can click here for the details, but those basic rules are:

  1. Follow the law
  2. Be predictable
  3. Be conspicuous
  4. Be aware
  5. Ride ready

Now that you know the rules…

Pedal on.

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Cedar Falls: Bronze-level bicycling friend

Iowa’s lonely little blue dot on this map of Bicycle Friendly Communities is Cedar Falls.

The city earned that League of American Bicyclists’ recognition with a Bronze designation largely for its encouragement of cycling (as indicated by the blue star on that same page).

Congratulations to that friendly community, which is known far and wide for its network of recreational and cycling trails. Those trails are the envy of other communities. Cedar Falls did a great job of cashing in on funding opportunities that helped build the network. That the city took the initiative to apply for BFC recognition shows someone there understands the benefits such development can bring to a community.

Cedar Rapids and Davenport are two other Iowa cities that are preparing applications for Bicycle Friendly Community designation.

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Tax break for commuting cyclists

Animation of a spinning bicycle pedal

Image via Wikipedia

Now there’s some good news for people who would rather bicycle to work than drive, or who now can’t afford to drive to work, from a report by the League of American Bicyclists:

The “bailout” bill approved last week included a tax break for bicycle commuters.

See www.bikeleague.org for details, and get a bike if you don’t already have one.

Pedal on.

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Eight ways to avoid anti-cyclist road rage and survive in traffic

News reports over the past few months indicate more people are buying bicycles and riding them to work because of high gasoline prices. Maybe you saw the recent Newsweek magazine article about “road rage” incidents involving cyclists and motorists.

In the interest of reducing the chances that you’ll be run down by a motorist, I’m offering these tips for bicycling in traffic (proven effective so far in 14-plus years of road cycling) and avoiding the ire of those who choose to be propelled by internal combustion:

  1. Be visible. That means wear bright colors every time you ride. Use a headlight and blinkers to make sure drivers notice you when it’s dark or getting dark. It’s easy to leave the headlight at home when you take off for an early evening ride, but you don’t know for sure that you’ll be home before dark. You might decide to ride a little farther, stop for ice cream or a beer, or get delayed by a flat tire, a sudden storm or mechanical problem.
  2. Look around. Check both directions before crossing through an intersection — even if you’re crossing a one-way street. A good friend once announced a street was “clear” just before he pulled out in front of a wrong-way driver, who missed him by inches. Fortunately for me, I saw the car before I got in the way. (Don’t take someone else’s word for it that a street is clear, by the way. See for yourself.)
  3. Ride in a straight, predictable line so drivers know what to expect from you. An acquaintance argues against this, on the theory that a motorist coming up from behind will give a weaving rider more room and pass more carefully. I’m afraid I’ll read about him in the newspaper some day after he gets run over.
  4. Ride in the bike lane if there is one. Some argue that bike lanes don’t make riding safer, but if there are designated bike lanes that’s where motorists will expect to see you. Use them.
  5. Use a mirror — always. Check it frequently for traffic coming up behind you. Get in the habit of glancing in the mirror every few seconds.
  6. Be ready to bail out. When you look in your mirror and see that a motorist overtaking you isn’t going to go around, get off the road. Quickly. Even if you crash in the ditch, you’ll more likely to be able to get back on the bike than if a speeding car ends your riding days permanently.
  7. Obey the law. In my experience, few things anger motorists more than seeing cyclists flout the law by ignoring stop signs and red lights. If you expect motorists to follow the rules of the road, it makes sense that you should do the same. It’s safer for everyone.
  8. Wear a helmet.

Pedal on.

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Getting friendly with cycling

Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Image via Wikipedia

Speaking of bicycling, Rick Smith reports in his Eye on the Island blog that Cedar Rapids wants to become more friendly to it. Worthy goal, not easily accomplished. The League of American Bicyclists takes its “Bicycle Friendly Community” designation pretty seriously, as it should. A city doesn’t get that rating easily and without some serious commitment.

Anyone and everyone in the cycling community should get behind this effort and help make it happen. There are obvious benefits for cyclists, but there are benefits for the rest of the citizenry, too, in terms of improved image that attracts businesses, jobs and people. A quick look at some of the “best places to live” stories that come out now and then will show that many of the best places to live are friendly to cycling. (The names Portland, Fort Collins and Madison, WI, come up a lot.) To paraphrase Lance Armstrong’s book title, it’s not just about bicycling. Being bicycle-friendly is one highly visible sign that a community is vibrant and interested in quality of life issues.

Give the city leadership a yellow jersey if they can get this done. They’ll need help from some cyclists.

Pedal on.

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