Something that has caught my attention...
By CycleRecycle, Dec 19 2015 10:20AM
Something that has caught my attention is the similar issues facing bicycle riders in UK, USA and Austalia. Safety issues confront pedestrians as well. Traffic laws in the New York City boroughs are appalling and enforcement is a disgrace. Studies have shown some interesting data. Streets become safer when more people ride bikes. Many people are afraid to ride because road safety is not given priority. Many people don't bike to work because they worry about arriving looking unprofessional.
I belong to an organization in NYC called Transportation Alternative. They have been a leading organization for about 47 years, working to improve street safety and public transportation. At a recent meeting, a young woman made some rather snippy remarks about bicycling in skirts. I rode my bike to the meeting, in a skirt. Well folks, I'm in my early 60s. I don't wear pants for a variety of reasons. And I'm no newcomer to bicycling. It has been my go to mode of transport and recreation since about age 6. But her comment got me thinking.
Those of us who are comfortable with bicycling can actively help others to feel more comfortable with riding. Doing so will introduce them to a healthful way to get around. As studies have shown, it will add to the number of people using roads to bicycle and take a few more cars off the road. Some of those new riders may then get involved in community affairs to improve safety.
This won't happen if we turn tentative riders off. Not everyone should ride a fixie or dress in spandex. If we look at the most successful bicycle friendly cities we see men in suits and women in skirts, even in heels. Bikes with step through frames and multiple gears allow for a comfortable ride. There are shops which rent so new riders can try a bike for a few days without making big money commitments. Offer to go out on gentle rides or direct them to organizations that help new riders. These organizations have people who are trained to teach people to bicycle. Many also have safe riding classes and take groups out on the street. An increasing number of bicycle shops are doing this as well. More than anything - No judgment. Be supportive of each individual's personal needs and style. Our goal should be to encourage more people on bikes, not throw up yet another barrier.
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