What Can I Do? R. I. B. I. K. E.



What Can I Do? R. I. B. I. K. E.

As bike month slowly winds down, I want to take a few minutes and post about part of my Bike-to-Work Day speech.  I’m often asked by fellow cyclists the question “what can I do?”.  They work during the day and don’t have time to attend legislative or governmental meetings, they are busy with work and when not working trying to raise kids, etc.  As I presented during my speech, you can R. I. B. I. K. E.:

  • R – Ride: Get out on the roads with your bike.  The more cyclists out on the roads, the more accustomed motorists will become with driving around cyclists and the safer conditions will become for all cyclists.
  • I – Insist on your rights to use the roadways and transportation infrastructure.  It is within your rights to take an entire travel lane when necessary to avoid objects in the roadway.  Yes, we need to be courteous  of other road users and when possible stay out of the way of faster moving traffic, but this doesn’t mean doing so when it would be dangerous.
  • B – Behave:  Under RI law, bicycles are considered vehicles.  Like it or not, this means cyclists must obey traffic rules, just like a motorist.  Don’t blow through stop signs, red lights, or generally take an action which you know will infuriate motorists.  It does nothing to advance our cause and you must always remember they are safe within their metal cage
  • I – Inquire: Any time you hear about a city or state improvement project or transportation funding meeting, ask what they are doing to support cycling.  Tell them about RIBIKE and let them know there is an organization dedicated to making cycling safer and we stand willing to help governments discuss what can be done to improve conditions for cyclist.
  • K – Kindle:  Share your love of cycling with others.  Make sure friends, co-workers, and other associates know you commute by bicycle.  Ask them if they would consider bicycle commuting and offer to help them get started.
  • E – Empower: We need to empower our state and city governments to make changes.  It’s tough for a politician these days to stick their neck out and push against the automotive tide, to make change happen.  As cyclists, we need to be ready to stand up and support those that make the effort to try and successfully affect change.  It won’t be easy, but with hard work, I’m confident we can turn this ship.


  • Freddie
    Jun 4, 2010 at 6:45 am

    This is great! Looking forward to moving to PVD. We are slated to move some time next year if things go as expected…

  • Labann
    Jun 12, 2010 at 4:33 am

    Welcome to Bicycle Hell, Freddie. Advocates like to make it seem nicer for bicycling than it really is: Worst place to ride in Northeast! Any recent improvement comes from lack of work (another 22,000 jobs lost in last 2 months, mostly because of a major flood) and resultant decrease in motored traffic. After a decade of incessant activism, gains have been too few to mention. We have a couple of bike paths that reuse abandoned rail beds, a boon for neighbors, even though they fought changes. But planners can't seem to understand that ALL HUMANS (whether in vehicles or not) are ENTITLED to use STREETS, defined as public rights of way, and you have to accommodate all of them, NOT JUST MOTORISTS.

    Bike path development comes from a bureaucratic mentality. They spend more for planning them than constructing, which is a joke, since they were already engineered to carry trains. They are sold as a "way to rid streets of pesky slow bicyclists and pedestrians". This only capitulates to motorists known propensity for impatience. No, they ought to preserve road shoulders, which provide a small measure of safety for legitimate non-motorized users. But that's not the case.

    Advocates ought to get it into their heads: Bicyclists ARE traffic. Motorists might find that aggravating, but how is it any different than other motorists in their way? Bicyclists take up less room, so they're almost never a problem. This "Bike Right!" slogan is a cruel affront to the very users who do the least harm.

    A bicycle is NOT A VEHICLE: it's weighs slightly more than a pair of shoes, which it more closely resembles.

    Traffic laws apply only to MOTORIZED vehicles with potential to inflict death and harm on others. Bikes don't; suspect anyone who argues otherwise; there's no evidence of it.

    I'll never ride as a lesson to motorists. They don't take or want lessons from bikes, pedestrians, other motorists or tractor trailers. I prefer bicycling: no fuel, hassles, lawsuits, parking issues, tickets… often it's actually faster, especially when you calculate all the hours you spend earning enough to pay for motoring.

    I'd suggest you sue legislators and RIDOT for violating federal and state laws which mandate bike-ped infrastructure.

    Keep cycling to yourself or risk losing friends and jobs. Why should you be a pariah? Let advocates assume that role.

    Bicycling is NEVER competition to motoring. Minimal funding for it ($1 for every $200,000) is totally separate from motoring. Extra motored trips are made to begin recreational bike rides, which offset any transportation miles, a net wash.

    Want to stem this automotive mindset? Have train terminals served by busses and trolleys. Have big parking lots on periphery of cities next to monorails and subways; locate police substations to oversee and Velib bikes to ride to final destinations. That's call URBAN TRANSPORTATION PLANNING, something Providence has never heard of.