Monday, November 30 , 2015, 8:02 pm | Fair 50º

Letter to the Editor: Universal Access to Bicycle Education in Santa Barbara?

By Christine Bourgeois |

As an avid cyclist who rides every day, I am always sad to hear that a car hit a fellow rider in our community.

This tragedy and other recent collisions involving cyclists in Santa Barbara highlight the need for all road users to obey the rules of the road. When people bend the rules to their personal benefit, whether they are a motorist, bicyclist or pedestrian, it contributes to chaos on the streets and everyone is endangered.

John Forester, a promoter of vehicular cycling, reminds us that all “cyclists fare best when they act and are treated as drivers of vehicles.”

When it comes to cycling safety, we need to be more European, where all students learn basic lessons in road safety and usage. Young children learn to be safe pedestrians, older students learn how to be respectful “drivers of a bicycle.” These countries have generations of educated road users who walk, bike and drive safely and without conflict.

In our community, the Santa Barbara Bicycle Coalition has been working toward the goal of offering universal access to bicycle education. This year, 140 junior high school students learned to ride safely through the popular Earn-a-Bike program. This month, the Spanish Language Outreach Committee distributed 800 free lights to low-income cyclists who have to ride to work, school or shopping after dark.

For adults, Santa Barbara Bicycle Coalition has been offering street skills classes every other month to practice bike handling skills and review legal rights and responsibilities. Pre-registration and details for these classes can be found online by clicking here.

Is the goal of offering universal access to bicycle education feasible in Santa Barbara? I’ll let every Santa Barbarian ponder my question.

Christine Bourgeois, education coordinator
Santa Barbara Bicycle Coalition

comments powered by Disqus

» on 11.29.12 @ 08:39 PM

Good grief you had me until the European worship crap. We are not Europeans, culturally, mentally, socially, politically and geographically. We do things different here because we are different. BTW in most European countries rules are more suggestions and people pretty much do what ever they can get away with.

That said I could not agree more that all travelers on a roadway need to think and act like vehicles and obey all rules of the road.

At intersections bicycles must use the proper lanes for the direction of travel. Turning left means using the left turn lane or pocket. Turning right means using the right turn lane, pocket or bike lane. And of course through traffic, which has the right of way is in the middle.

The biggest conflicts I see are with respect to right turns where through bicyclists are stopped at the curb side blocking right turning vehicles and vehicles turning right doing so from the middle of the road.

This error has now been compounded by these idiotic bulb outs which force all right turning traffic to be made from the through lane. Honestly, if you are an avid cycling commuter you should be admonishing the idiots who thought up these horrible safety hazards and malicious traffic fouling devices. They not only cause restrictions in traffic flow but worse, force these conflicts on the most defenseless vehicles, bicycles.

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