Talk of the Nation & Defensive Cycling

6 Apr

Today’s broadcast of the NPR call-in show Talk of the Nation included a segment on the topic of cyclists and traffic laws.  Some great discussion from Bill Strickland, editor of Bicycling, and Tom Vanderbilt, author of Traffic.  The jumping off point was a an article in this month’s Bicycling by Matt Seaton about the opposition to bike infrastructure that often occurs when it is proposed or put in place.  The furor over cycle tracks near Prospect Park in Brooklyn is an especially prominent example.

Most of the cyclists who called in to Talk of the Nation basically confessed to not always following traffic laws, but said they do so because following them in some cases puts them at greater risk.  Roads and the laws that govern them are mainly designed with cars in mind, not cyclists.  That said, the piece by Seaton suggests that some of the more blatant and obnoxious ways that cyclists in that city break the rules contributes quite a bit to the opposition to bike infrastructure.

The good news is that one of the many good biking-related things going on in the city is a project called Richmond Defensive Cycling, which is focused on teaching safe and confident cycling.  Mattie Hinkley won a grant from feast rva to get this going (thanks to reader Caitlin for making me aware of this).  The first session will be held on April 26 as one of many events being planned for VCU Bike Week April 21-27.  (Events also include a number of rides, a Bike Film Festival at the Byrd, and a Bike Swap at the VMFA).

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