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.