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Free Smart Cycling Class

Looking to increase your bicycling confidence on the road? Thinking about how to avoid obstacles, hazards and oblivious tourists? Sign up for the FREE 3-Hour Smart cycling class on Wed 7/18 6-9pm

Bike Newport is offering a FREE three-hour Bicycle Safety Class to Residents of Aquidneck Island (age 18+):

Smart Cycling: Traffic 101, Wednesday, July 18, 6-9 p.m. at the Preservation Society of Newport County, 424 Bellevue Avenue.

Register HERE. First come, first served. Class size limited to 15.

Summer is the time to leave the car home and head out on two wheels! Enjoy the view, breathe the fresh air, be closer to the sights, and don’t stress the parking challenges. But if you’re riding with motorized traffic, you best know the tricks of the trade and the rules of the road.

How do you position yourself in a single lane road lined by parked cars? How do you avoid getting “doored”?  What do you do when there’s no shoulder? How do you achieve the highest visibility? How can you avoid sudden road hazards? And (insert drum roll here) how do you change a flat tire?

Bike Newport is beginning a season of free classes for residents of Aquidneck Island to learn the basics of riding in traffic.  The first Smart Cycling class is for adults (18+) and will take place on Wednesday, July 18, from 6 p.m.  at the Preservation Society of Newport County, 424 Bellevue Avenue, Newport.  The class is limited to 15 participants and will be filled first come, first served. Register HERE.

Participants will be asked to bring bicycle and helmet, as well as clothing and lights suitable for nighttime riding for a "test" of nighttime visibility.

The class will be led by Bike Newport’s LCIs (League Certified Instructors), a group of dedicated volunteers trained by the League of American Bicyclists. 

Providing bicycle safety and smart cycling classes helps Bike Newport to further its mission to improve and encourage bicycling in Newport in the best interest of our health, economy, environment and historic preservation. For more information, please email info@bikenewportri.org or call (401) 324-9690. 

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Robert E July 15, 2012 at 07:25 PM
Don't forget to teach the Bicyclists they need to follow all the rules of the road. They need to stop at all stop signs and can not proceed through an intersection until the light turns green. I can't count the number of times I have been stopped at a red light and a bicycle will make a brief stop and then proceed through the red light
John Weisley July 15, 2012 at 08:54 PM
let the bikes do what they want. If a bike hits something, no one but the rider is hurt. If a car hits something, many are hurt. I would be happy if they closed off Newport to all automobiles. Golf carts, bikes, boats, walking
Bari George July 15, 2012 at 09:07 PM
Thanks, Robert. Primary to the class is the "need to know" that bikes are vehicles - and all the rules and responsibilities that go along with that designation. Cyclists and motorists need to understand what it means to share the road and practice safe road sharing behavior. And John, you've made an important point - in a a car/bicycle encounter, the car always wins. Drivers need to understand that recklessly passing cyclists, for example, puts lives in danger. For safe road sharing, we all need to follow the rules. I hope you'll both consider coming to this or a later class. And we'll surely be scheduling classes for motorists as well. Thanks for inspiring more conversation.
Sandra J. Flowers, PhD July 15, 2012 at 09:32 PM
Bari, Just today I saw an example of why everyone has to re-learn the rules of the road (assuming some learned in the first place). Just past Newport Grand, as I was heading east on Admiral Kalbfus Road, two twenty-ish people rode through the stop sign from Malbone Road (near the Daily News office) across Adm Kalbfus toward Girard Avenue. If I, or other motorists, had been the least bit distracted, there would have been another horrible tragedy. I don't recall seeing helmets on the young man or the young woman. Keep up the good work. Sandra
Susan Woythaler July 16, 2012 at 12:44 PM
Even though, I am a bicycle rider, I gave up riding on Aquidneck Island years ago. IMHO, there is no safe place to ride on this island. Everyone is too distracted and/or not following the "rules of the road"....everyday I witness this. Drivers running red lights; Drivers going too fast; cyclists riding the wrong way on one-way streets; cyclists going through stop signs and red lights; cyclists not wearing helmets and other protective clothing; people in general being STUPID! Every time I drive on this island it is an exercise in "defensive driving" and I'm also relieved to get home without a mishap. Everyone who is "out on the road" needs to pay attention, be more courteous, and "follow the rules of the road".....
Bari George July 16, 2012 at 01:06 PM
Hi Sandra. Thanks for sharing these important stories. The poor cycling skills we witness abound. The intersection you cite is one of the most dangerous in the city - including for the most cautious rider. To race across without regard is Russian Roulette. It must have been terrifying to witness. The key is education and information. To accomplish safer riding and driving skills, in addition to adult education and city-wide road share planning, we want to begin with all of our kids at an early age - getting them on bikes with the information about how to ride. We'll work on that, too. Our schools are interested and supportive, from the Superintendent to the School Principals to you and our other Schools Committee members. We'll figure this out together. Thanks for being part of the conversation.
Bari George July 16, 2012 at 01:09 PM
Susan, you've raised all the challenges we face and put it in the context of road sharing - the responsibilities of both cyclists and motorists. We'll get there - one step at a time. I hope you'll join us and be part of the discussion and the solution. If you haven't already, please sign up for Alerts at www.bikenewportri.org. Thank you for sharing the perspective that keeps many cyclists off of our roads.
Island Porkrunner July 16, 2012 at 02:02 PM
I can't count the number of times LAST WEEK i saw automobiles doing a rolling stop through dangerous intersections all over Newport. Believe me I know we have to be 10x more vigilant to the safety rules on a bike because people in their cars - especially tourists on vacation in a city they are not familiar with - are totally out of control.
TAMORI July 16, 2012 at 03:48 PM
Robert – I will agree with you that bicyclists need to follow the rules of the road. That being said, as an avid bicyclist I also firmly believe that intersections are among the most dangerous places for bicycles. Many intersections on Aquidneck Island are especially dangerous because there aren’t shoulders or bike lanes to speak of. In those situations, extricating oneself from that area can be among the safer things a bicyclist can do. But, only when it’s safe! Dodging oncoming cars is not the way to do it. Obviously you won’t hear safety course instructors teaching this. But on my bike, if I am at a long red light and there is no other traffic moving…I will go though that light to get myself away from the intersection and make it safer for all.
John Weisley July 16, 2012 at 05:08 PM
Using a bicycle means you can pass stand-still traffic, pass through intersections (after stopping), and park anywhere in Newport. Most of the complaints I see regarding bicyclists fall under one of two categories: (1) Jealousy: Automobile drivers often get jealous when they are stuck in bumper to bumper traffic and they see bicyclists passing them. You choose to drive a car, prepare for the consequences. (2) Fear/Laziness: Many drivers, especially out of towners and Newporter's who live far from the downtown are used to "lazy driving." ie not having to worry about objects in their periphery. They are used to wide lanes, higher speeds, and having total possession of the entire lane they are traveling in. They get apprehensive when they have to pass close to something. In 1989, the population of the United States was 246 mil. Our population has increased 22% since then. The roads are more crowded, more traffic, fewer parking spaces. Newport would be smart to design and begin implementing a long term plan that addresses transportation within the downtown area. A plan that takes into consideration changing tourism patters, automobiles, and how most efficiently provide parking and transportation, while preserving a high quality of life for year round residents. Every spot in downtown newport should be meter parking, and in the summer should be at least $3.00/hr or more. The new meters in Chicago accept credit cards.
Bari George July 16, 2012 at 07:13 PM
Tamori: Many cyclists make similar decisions in the midst of traffic congestion based on fear - often from direct experience with motorists. It doesn't make sense, however, that stopping and waiting with other vehicles is less safe than proceeding through an intersection illegally and unpredictably. You know your intentions, but others negotiating that intersection do not. Your actions are lawless and, even more importantly, unpredictable. Our best defense – and the key to cycling safely - is predictability. Matt Moritz, LCI and Pres of RIBike, cites compelling research: “Most bike/auto collisions occur in intersections, and just under half of all collisions can be attributed to the cyclist. Crossing against a light places the cyclist in the wrong by law, and at greater risk from vehicles that weren't noticed." I also shared your comment with our coach, Jen Laurita, of the League of American Bicyclists. She reiterated the urgency of predictability, and pointed out that the program we teach is based on the most successful model for bicycling education in the country. In a delightful essay David Byrne shared "I try to stop at red lights and often feel lame when other cyclists zoom by. But if this system is ever going to be safe enough for kids, stopping for lights and following traffic rules is something we all have to do.” Please consider joining one of our classes - your experience contributes to healthy dialogue about how we all contribute to safer cycling.
TAMORI July 16, 2012 at 07:38 PM
I agree. Predictability! There’s nothing to be gained by darting out in front of cars without warning. But like motorists are advised to drive, I am ridding defensively because motorists frequently don’t see bicyclists. If I’m on my bike at a red light sitting in the left turn lane and there are only cars lined up behind me…no cars present in any of the other three directions…I GO and get myself out of there. Conversely, you can’t convince me that it’s safer to wait until the light is green, by which time there now may be traffic approaching from the other direction(s). I just don’t agree that it’s safe for a bicycle to be sitting in the middle of an intersection on the likes of East/West Main Road with cars speeding by in excess of 50 mph.
Bari George July 16, 2012 at 07:41 PM
The link to David Byrne's essay is: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/27/opinion/sunday/this-is-how-we-ride.html?pagewanted=all
Bari George July 16, 2012 at 07:46 PM
Re long term planning - In April, the Newport City Council passed a resolution to work toward becoming a certified Bicycle Friendly Community. This process will include bicycle planning and incorporating bicycle planning into the city's transportation plan.
Bari George July 16, 2012 at 07:58 PM
Hi Tamori. I truly encourage you to come to this class or another. The thought of you making a left turn against the light on East or West Main Road is terrifying. Please consider continuing this conversation at a class - which are free of charge and provide opportunities to converse with expert instructors, some with very advanced credentials.
nmb July 16, 2012 at 09:39 PM
I have to say, I think that the designation of bikes as vehicles needs to be rethought. There have been several fatal bike/car accidents this year alone but I've never heard of a fatal bike/pedestrian accident. Drivers are naturally unaccustomed to look behind and to the right when making a right hand turn, yet this and other similar situations are how accidents occur. Bikes & pedestrians peacefully coexist on bike paths and vehicles are accustomed to looking out for pedestrians so I say, widen the side walks, add a bike lane there, and have bikers follow pedestrian rules.
Bari George July 17, 2012 at 03:25 AM
NMB - the designation of bicycles as vehicles on roads is law, not opinion. Bike Paths provide traffic-free riding. We have some of the nicest Bike Paths in the country right here in Rhode Island - the Bristol Bike Path, South County Bike Path, East Bay Bike Path, Blackstone Valley Bike Path ... We hope one day to have an Aquidneck Island Bike Path riding up the West Shore of the island and connecting with Bristol. But to ride on the road, cyclists need to behave like cars and understand how to position the bicycle in traffic. A bicycle should never be on the right side of a car that is turning right. How to avoid that situation has to do with road positioning and is what we cover in the Traffic 101 Class. I hope you'll join us.
Robert E July 17, 2012 at 07:00 AM
It's not just unsafe it's illegal you can't just pick and choose wich laws you feel like obeying if everybody on the road did this there would be total chaos.
Robert E July 17, 2012 at 07:12 AM
San Francisco Cyclist Faces Manslaughter Charges In Elderly Man’s Death The San Francisco District Attorney has issued an arrest warrant for the bicyclist accused of fatally striking an elderly pedestrian in the Castro District earlier this year. http://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/tag/fatal-bicycle-pedestrian-accident/ cyclists hope to find unity in safer Katy Trail after jogger's fatal collision Pedestrians, cyclists hope to find unity in safer Katy Trail after jogger's fatal collision http://www.dallasnews.com/news/community-news/dallas/headlines/20101004-Pedestrians-cyclists-hope-to-find-6690.ece Fatal bike-pedestrian crash determined to be accidental http://www.staradvertiser.com/s?action=login&f=y&id=158400815&id=158400815 Now nmb you have heard of fatal bike/pedestrian accidents.
J A Johnson July 21, 2012 at 12:03 PM
I wish all cyclist would take safety classes... Huge problem is a cyclist on East Main or West Main Rd!!! There is just no room and talk about dangerous... Most drivers seem to feel these routes are like highways and go way too fast and dart in and out. Both are in need of pedestrian/bike paths... but then again, in the winter, no one shovels or snowblows any of the sidewalks that ARE in existence, but that's another whole issue!! Please keep in mind, walkers, runners and cyclist, when you go into the shade you virtually dissapear from drivers especially on a bright sunny day... I cant tell you how many times I didnt even see someone who is in a shady area esp when they are wearing dark clothing.... I as a walker always keep this in mind and also keep an eye on oncoming traffic to make sure they are paying attention..

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