By Mario A. Cortez
Local residents interested in learning about bicycle road safety can attend a class being offered by the San Diego County Bicycle Coalition on Saturday, Feb. 2 starting at 9 a.m. at the Copley-Price YMCA in City Heights.
The three-hour session is aimed at cyclists of all skill levels and will cover general bike safety, emergency maneuvers, legal aspects of cycling, and rider responsibilities. The course will include a classroom learning segment which will be complemented by a on-bike session where attendees can put to practice what they have just learned.
Kevin Baross, SD County Bicycle Coalition program coordinator, explained that the class is set up so that people can experiment with what they have just learned.
“We talk about the rules of the road and then do an hour on the blacktop with bike handling skills and simulating situations one might find themselves in and then do another another hour on the street” Baross said.
One of the main focus points of the course is exploring a more assertive style of riding in place of the common notion of “riding as if you are invisible.”
“We teach from the philosophy of vehicular cycling, which is the idea that you are safer acting as if you are driving a vehicle because it means you will be treated like a vehicle. It is the opposite of the a lot of common advice,” Baross detailed. “It’s scarier to have someone blow past me because they didn’t see me than having someone honk at me. I don’t mind when people honk, because it means people see can me.”
Andy Hanshaw, SD County Bicycle Coalition executive director, shared with La Prensa San Diego that bicycle education is something the organization has done for several years throughout its existence, but can now offer these programs in specific neighborhoods thanks to a number of grants, such as an Office of Traffic Safety grant from the State and funding SANDAG’s iCommute program.
With City Heights becoming a hub for car-alternative transportation and a key community for the City’s Climate Action Plan goals, offering a class in this neighborhood made perfect sense.
The course is open to all ages and skill levels. Helmets are mandatory for the on-bike segments. Organizers will have a limited amount of loaner bikes and helmets, which will be distributed on a first-come-first-served basis.