A bicycle safety instructor is teaching Capital Region cyclists how to “drive” their bikes.
“Every time I’m out on the road I see people making dangerous choices,” said Tamara Flanders, a cycling instructor who is certified by the League of American Cyclists. “Some mis-educated people behind the wheel don’t respect the right of cyclists to be on the road. On the other hand, some mis-educated bike riders don’t follow proper road etiquette and make car drivers nervous or upset.”
Flanders is working to make shared roadways safer for bicycles and cars by teaching “vehicular cycling,” the practice of driving bicycles on roads in a manner that is visible, predictable, and in accordance with traffic law.
“Cycling is safest when the bicycle is treated the same as other vehicles,” Flanders said. “When you follow all the traffic laws, you are ‘driving’ your bike. This ensures your visibility and safety from the cars around you.”
Now that summer is here, and more people are using bicycle transportation to avoid high gas prices, Flanders said it’s crucial that cyclists and car drivers do everything in their power to avoid crashes.
“Knowing how to properly share the road can prevent nearly all of the car-bicycle crashes that happen,” Flanders said.
Flanders will be teaching a variety of safe cycling courses this summer, including a cycling coaching program titled “Couch Potato to 25 Miles.” This program will teach novice cycling skills, as well as vehicular cycling, while helping beginning cyclists build their skills and endurance to comfortably cycle 25 miles. Couch Potato to 25 miles is scheduled to start at the end of July 2009 and will utilize many of the beautiful sections of Mohawk-Hudson Bike-Hike Trail and select roadways in the Niskayuna and Schenectady areas.
Flanders also offers one-on-one bicycle coaching. During each session, she rides with her individual student, teaching him or her how to navigate roads safely and effectively on a bike.
In addition to teaching bicycle safety classes, Flanders is a holistic health counselor.
“Riding your bike safely is a great way to improve your health, raise your self esteem, and have a great time,” she said
For information and to register for programs, visit: http://yourbodyawake.com/id4.html .