Promoting equality through bicycling education in the United States


Some programs are discussed in the context of a complete and comprehensive approach to bicycle safety and an overarching goal of improving equality of access to public roads. Bicycle Training in the Netherland's is a program where 12-year-old children being tested on their bicycling knowledge and proficiency. The 6-km (3.7-mile) test route in Utrecht includes separate bike paths, a counterflow on-road bike route, special traffic light controlled junctions, and roundabouts, as well as regular roads. This test is the culmination of years of school-based bicycle education, beginning when children are in kindergarten. Hundreds of 13-year-old school children participated in a comprehensive bicycling education curriculum developed and taught in Palo Alto, CA, USA middle schools by Diana Lewiston, a dedicated educator and experienced on-road bicyclist. A novel idea introduced by Lewiston was using walkie-talkies adapted to mount on each student's bicycle helmet or headband connected to a transceiver around the waist. When the group arrived at a chosen signalized intersection, Lewiston's assistant would demonstrate the maneuver by riding through the intersection first. Each student would then follow in turn while being given feedback by Lewiston via walkie-talkie. The League of American Bicyclists (LAB) was the first to offer a comprehensive bicycling education program nationwide. Its current foundational adult course, called Traffic Skills 101 of 9 hours minimum duration, covers bicycle mechanics and bicycle handling techniques and emergency maneuvers, plus on-road training. Beginning in 2010, the Florida Bicycle Association launched a program called CyclingSavvy, which is gaining recognition nationally. By way of introduction, adult students attend a 3-hour classroom session called Truth & Techniques of Traffic Cycling, extensively illustrated with graphics and video.


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ITE Journal (Institute of Transportation Engineers)