Archived Q&A and Reviews
My 24 year old son lives here in Berkeley, rides his bike to work and his various activities, including aikido and grocery shopping and evening events. He refuses to wear a bike helmet and the lights on his bike are often broken/stolen/or not functioning in general. He won't wear reflective clothing either.
I should add that he doesn't live at home, though we see him once a week for dinner at our house. He is very responsible in all other ways. He graduated from college, he has a job, he found his own health insurance, he pays all his own bills. He doesn't own a car, though he is welcome to borrow ours when needed.
I am beside myself with worry over the bike safety issue. I have tried talking to him about it. I offered to buy him a helmet. I have replaced his lights on every holiday you can imagine. I have tried not bringing it up.
Any ideas? My latest thought was mentioning that if he gets seriously hurt, he will wind up living back at home and will lose the independence he values so much.
We have a good relationship except for this. I would love some suggestions. Worrying MOM
I had this problem with my son too - I bought helmets that he didn't wear, and I watched him leave on his bike from my house holding the helmet in his hand. I was so worried and I nagged him constantly about it because he uses his bike to get everywhere - to school, to work, to friends' houses, all over Berkeley and Oakland, in the wee hours of the morning. Then last summer just before he turned 25 he started wearing his bike helmet, and he still wears it now every single time. He came over today and I asked him what made him start wearing it. Typically, he said ''Oh no reason in particular.'' but when I pushed him on it, he said he had had a couple of close shaves with cars. ''There are a lot of idiots on the road!'' he said, ''I don't want to die!''. But I also know that around the time he started wearing the helmet again, one of his best friends was hit by a car biking home from a party in Oakland late at night and was knocked off his bike and lay unconscious for a few hours before he woke up and made his way home (he was OK, thankfully). So that probably had something to do with it. Anyway, with my son I think it was a matter of finally becoming mature enough at 25 to realize he was taking a risk. I hope that your kid realizes that too, without getting hurt first! fingers crossed
I totally understand your fears. I would feel the same way. Perhaps I will in the future. It sounds like your son knows how you feel and that you have done a great job in terms of offering to help. However, your son is quite responsible in other ways, a grown man, and in charge of these important decisions for himself. If you know the serenity prayer it might help. We do have to let go when it comes to our adult children as painful as it might be..... Rachel
As hard as it is a parent, I think this will be a case of live and learn, or he could just never have an accident. I had two serious bike accidents, once when I was 25, riding with no helmet, and spent several days hospitalized with a concussion; the second when I was 30, riding now with a helmet, and spent three weeks on medical leave with a broken elbow. Both times I had great friends help me out and was not a burden on my parents. -- riding seldomly now
I don't mean to sound harsh, but as you stated your son is now a full-fledged adult and makes his own decisions. I would say the person that needs the help right now is you. One of our hardest jobs as parents is to let go. It is a constant lesson to be learned over and over at each stage of our children's lives. It seems that you are having a hard time doing this right now. You may want to go to a support group or individual therapist to deal with your anxiety. Good luck... Jenny
Please leave your son alone on the helmet issue! Riding a bike is quite safe, safer than walking. The health benefits he gets from cycling outweigh the risks, in my opinion, since he is looking at less heart disease, less diabetes risk, less depression, etc.
Keep buying him lights, since those do get stolen, and encourage him to be visible and follow the rules of the road. But please don't discourage his biking - a car is more dangerous to himself, others, and the environment. Please look at this page to get some perspective on the actual level of risk from cycling: http://www.kenkifer.com/bikepages/health/risks.htm
Finally, unfortunately, a helmet would offer very little protection if he was struck by a car; a human body simply cannot withstand an impact with a large metal object, even with a helmet on its head. A fellow cyclist
I highly recommend that your son get a helmet and high visibility clothing. And, if he does any cycling after dark, a headlight and flashing taillight.
I have done much cycling over the years. I have ridden cross-country, extensively in Canada, and thru many Western and Eastern US states. For the last 20+ years, bicycling has been my main form of transportation to work between Alameda and Berkeley. My point is not to impress, but to point out I've ridden a lot and I'm out there almost everyday. I consider myself a very skilled and highly aware bicyclist.
In my earlier years, I would not even consider a helmet or any kind of fancy equipment. I still think jersies, riding pants, and bike cleats are for dorks or wanna-bes. Maybe your son does, too. Maybe, as I used to, he thinks he's too good of a rider for anything to happen to him.
What changed my mind was riding some 15+ mph down MLK Jr Wy at 530P and having a car door open in front of me with no time to stop, being ejected, landing in the middle of the street, and thereby left at the mercy of the trailing motorists to see me and stop in time to avoid running me over. That, and trip to the ER, the stitches, the 5 weeks off of work, and the permanent facial scars.
Since that day, I have worn a bicycle helmet and made myself as visible as possible when riding. That did not prevent the 2 other times I hit car doors that were carelessly flung open, most recently 3 months ago on Telegraph Ave south of campus, sending me to the ER for X-rays. Nor, the countless times I have had to take evasive action to avoid careless, indifferent, or even spiteful (yes) motorists.
I adapted to a helmet almost immediately. And, other safety equipment (lights, clothing, reflective material) is cheap insurance and quite unobtrusive.
Believe me, things are vastly different today. There are more cars on the road, they drive faster, the motorists are in a much bigger hurry, and they are more distracted (cell phone, DVD, IPod) and/or angry.
Tell your son it can happen to anyone. IT CAN HAPPEN TO HIM. And, in many situations, the most experienced bicylist won't have the skill and/or time to prevent it. Michael
Encourage a police officer to issue a citation for lack of a light: http://dmv.ca.gov/pubs/vctop/d11/vc21201.htm
V C Section 21201 Equipment Requirements Equipment Requirements 21201. (a) No person shall operate a bicycle on a roadway unless it is equipped with a brake which will enable the operator to make one braked wheel skid on dry, level, clean pavement. (b) No person shall operate on the highway a bicycle equipped with handlebars so raised that the operator must elevate his hands above the level of his shoulders in order to grasp the normal steering grip area. (c) No person shall operate upon a highway a bicycle that is of a size that prevents the operator from safely stopping the bicycle, supporting it in an upright position with at least one foot on the ground, and restarting it in a safe manner. (d) A bicycle operated during darkness upon a highway, a sidewalk where bicycle operation is not prohibited by the local jurisdiction, or a bikeway, as defined in Section 890.4 of the Streets and Highways Code, shall be equipped with all of the following: (1) A lamp emitting a white light that, while the bicycle is in motion, illuminates the highway, sidewalk, or bikeway in front of the bicyclist and is visible from a distance of 300 feet in front and from the sides of the bicycle. (2) A red reflector on the rear that shall be visible from a distance of 500 feet to the rear when directly in front of lawful upper beams of headlamps on a motor vehicle. (3) A white or yellow reflector on each pedal, shoe, or ankle visible from the front and rear of the bicycle from a distance of 200 feet. (4) A white or yellow reflector on each side forward of the center of the bicycle, and a white or red reflector on each side to the rear of the center of the bicycle, except that bicycles that are equipped with reflectorized tires on the front and the rear need not be equipped with these side reflectors. (e) A lamp or lamp combination, emitting a white light, attached to the operator and visible from a distance of 300 feet in front and from the sides of the bicycle, may be used in lieu of the lamp required by paragraph (1) of subdivision (d). Amended Ch. 723, Stats. 1979. Effective January 1, 1980. Amended Sec. 1, Ch. 232, Stats. 2007. Effective January 1, 2008.
Tragically, it appears that it is legal for an adult to ride a bike without a helmet in California. http://dmv.ca.gov/pubs/vctop/d11/vc21212.htm
V C Section 21212 Youth Bicycle Helmets Minors Youth Bicycle Helmets: Minors 21212. (a) A person under 18 years of age shall not operate a bicycle, a nonmotorized scooter, or a skateboard, nor shall they wear in-line or roller skates, nor ride upon a bicycle, a nonmotorized scooter, or a skateboard as a passenger, upon a street, bikeway, as defined in Section 890.4 of the Streets and Highways Code, or any other public bicycle path or trail unless that person is wearing a properly fitted and fastened bicycle helmet that meets the standards of either the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) or the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), or standards subsequently established by those entities. This requirement also applies to a person who rides upon a bicycle while in a restraining seat that is attached to the bicycle or in a trailer towed by the bicycle. (b) Any helmet sold or offered for sale for use by operators and passengers of bicycles, nonmotorized scooters, skateboards, or in-line or roller skates shall be conspicuously labeled in accordance with the standard described in subdivision (a) which shall constitute the manufacturer's certification that the helmet conforms to the applicable safety standards. (c) No person shall sell, or offer for sale, for use by an operator or passenger of a bicycle, nonmotorized scooter, skateboard, or in-line or roller skates any safety helmet which is not of a type meeting requirements established by this section. (d) Any charge under this subdivision shall be dismissed when the person charged alleges in court, under oath, that the charge against the person is the first charge against that person under this subdivision, unless it is otherwise established in court that the charge is not the first charge against the person. (e) Except as provided in subdivision (d), a violation of this section is an infraction punishable by a fine of not more than twenty-five dollars ($25). The parent or legal guardian having control or custody of an unemancipated minor whose conduct violates this section shall be jointly and severally liable with the minor for the amount of the fine imposed pursuant to this subdivision. Etc.... . Amended Sec. 6, Ch. 674, Stats. 1996. Effective January 1, 1997. Amended Sec. 1, Ch. 475, Stats. 2002. Effective January 1, 2003.
My son, 15, has grown up in an urban part of Oakland where he can't really ride his bike freely. And he learned to ride late, too, visiting in the country. Now he has two friends, very experienced cyclists, asking him to ride his bike to meet them in Montclair to swim this summer. I completely understand my son's wish to show up on his bike to meet them. But I don't even know how to picture this. He has never ridden his bike in traffic, ever. And to go uphill so far? And to come downhill? I was hoping to find some organized bike rides or groups for him (Sierra Club? Other?)--can anyone recommend anything like that? But he has his heart set on this other plan. Guidelines for saying no? Suggestions for what is appropriate for his age and experience level, and/or how to get him the practice he needs before setting him loose on the roads? And then if these boys also ask him to go on some long bike rides? I am not over-protective and am happy for him to do adventurous independent things with friends. I also don't want him to get hurt on his bike. Willing in Principle But Not in Practice (Yet?)
My 14 yr. old took 2 excellent free classes through the East Bay Bicycle Coalition - one a classroom class, on the rules of the road and biking in traffic, the other on the streets of Oakland. He was by far the youngest in the class, but it was invaluable in learning to bike in traffic, and for me to have peace of mind that he could navigate his way to school without becoming road pizza. Highly recommend it! Great group of people! http://www.ebbc.org/ Good luck! Carolyn
I am a mom too and can sympathize with your worry; however, I know from my own teen years that bike riding is a great thing for teenagers. I biked everywhere and went on to commute by bike in several big cities. No major accidents and a great sense of autonomy. I don't know much about organized rides locally, but I know that Missing Link Bike store in Berkeley teaches free repair classes, including one on bike commuting. I would of course insist that your son wear a helmet and carry water. The uphill rides are perfect for teenager energy. Here's to clean air and healthy kids
Sounds great to have them bike: one problem I see here is car drivers just opening their driver side doors without first checking for bicyclists to come by. We have to really warn our kids about this. Regarding the uphills and downhills, I would just let your son practice. Maybe he can bike it with you following in car/on bike to practice first? Biking is great, but you got to have both eyes open at all times here! Big Biker
The East Bay Bicycle Coalition offers free bicycle safety classes which would be good starting point. http://www.ebbc.org/?q=safety Perhaps take a class with your son and then riding together with him for a while. Anwyl
As a college student, I worked as a bicycle tour leader for younger teens and it was very challenging to get this age kids, who feel immortal, like to take risks, and who don't have the experience of being a driver, to understand road safety. But, a lot can be done to raise awareness, and the independence and physical fitness that comes with being a skilled cyclist is valuable!
A really good resource is the East Bay Bike Coalition, an advocacy group that has lots of safety information and offers classes about biking safely. The Missing Link, a bike shop on Shattuck, also has classes. And the SF Bike Coalition does, too. If your teen is interested in longer rides, checking out a cycling club can be a good idea and then he will have contact with more experienced adult cyclists who can share their skills and experience.
I'm a cyclist and a long-time driver, and one thing I see a lot that concerns me is ill-fitting helmets that would not do their job if the rider fell off the bike and hit their head. A well-fitting helmet is key. This means a somewhat uncomfortably snug chin strap! Also, as uncool as it may seem, brigh colored clothing help with visibility. best to you and your family, Ilene
Check out East Bay Bicycle Coalition http://www.ebbc.org/ They have safety courses for all ages and are a great resource for local cycling information. Everything your son wants to do is appropriate on a bike. Believe it or not, bikes do go uphill into Monclair just fine! I can personally attest to this. This is a great opportunity for him to learn to get around on his own and to have some transportation independence. As the parent of 2 teenage boys who have bicycled to school and elsewhere since middle school, high school is a 6 mile ride from N Berkeley to Oakland, I think you're being overly protective. But do have him take a safety course first. Insist that he ALWAYS wear a helmet and spend the money on whatever cool bike helmet he wants. You want him to like it and always wear it. (not a skate or BMX helmet - they are hot and heavy) He should also carry a map and his phone too! also a bike parent
It sounds like a potentially positive experience, and an opportunity for him to spend time with experience bicyclists. The details matter. What are the possible routes? Some are much better than others. You should ride it a couple of times yourself to see what it is like, from the perspective of a bicyclist. Talk to the other kids parents. And check http://www.ebbc.org/ and post your question on their forum too. I live in Montclair, and know some of the routes. paseidl
Hi, I live in Berkeley and 90% of the time I travel around on foot. I occasionally drive a car, but not much. I have been increasingly aware of the bicyclists around Berkeley not following the rules of the road. Not stopping at stop signs, driving on the sidewalks, passing cars on the right. It is very dangerous and several times I have almost gotten hit by bikes as I am crossing the street. I have actually had a couple of bikes run into me coming around corners on sidewalks (when I was pregnant!). Cyclists act as if you are supposed to jump out of their way when they barrel down the sidewalks. When I am occasionally driving, I have had some very frightening experiences in near misses when they don't stop at 4 way stops like all vehicles are supposed to. Its as if they think they are exempt from these rules. I know it is probably difficult to stop when you are biking uphill, but I say, too bad, you still have to follow the rules. I know if I hit one of these cyclists when they ran a stop sign they would assume its my fault. They often pass on the right and then act like you are a bad driver when you make a right turn in front of them.
Is there anything that can be done? Can we call the police and ask them to enforce the rules of the road for bicyclists as well as cars? Its also not a very good example when trying to teach my children how to bike.
I'm sure you'll get a wide range of responses to this, and I won't offer advice on what to do... just a perspective. I'm a driver and a bike commuter. Yes, there are obnoxious bikers around. I'm particularly against the sidewalk riding (though streets that don't allow for bikes at all are an issue). However, as for the 4-way stops and bikers cruising through. I have been commuting through Berkeley (4 miles each way) for at least 4 years and the stop sign confusion is really terrible. What I mean is, the vast majority of time cars will NOT go when it is their turn if I have stopped at a stop sign and instead wave me through the intersection. If I have come to a stop and have prepared to wait for my turn, I am not yet ready to go again (get my pedal ready and all that), thus it's this uncomfortably slow process of me getting going again fast. I would say that this happens 95% of the time. Worse is when I stop at a stop sign crossing a street like MLK and the cars stop for me as if I'm a pedestrian (they have no stop). Then I have all this pressure to get started again before I was ready and it's confusing for everyone, particularly the traffic from the other direction not making this choice. I now primarily slow to a cruise at a 4-way stop and judge if the driver will 'want' me to go first. There have been situations where I have run a stop sign and then been yelled at that 'bikes have to obey the rules too'. I fully admit that I am wrong in these situations, but honestly - there is a real identity crisis out there about bikes in Berkeley.
I know this doesn't address your issue of unsafe and rude bikes around Berkeley, but I wanted to make the point that it's not as clear cut as 'bikes have to obey the rules too'. When cars treat us like pedestrians more of the time, it makes for terrible traffic flows and sometimes unsafe situations for bikes. We need to rethink our bike laws (and really our car-primacy in general). a conflicted biker
Thank you! I know bicyclists are morally superior to those of us who drive cars, but they're horrible. I've seen bicyclists cause accidents with cars, I've almost been run down by them as a pedestrian. THey're supposed to follow the rules of the road, and the vast majority of them don't, and I wish the police would do something. Maybe they think they're only risking their own lives, but they're not. If a car has to slam on the brakes to avoid hitting a bicyclist running a red light, she could get rear-ended by the person behind her. It's been driving me nuts for 9 years since I moved here, but I have no idea what to do about it. My husband occasionally yells out the car window at them, but I doubt that helps much. Sarah
The problem is that bicycles aren't cars and they aren't pedestrians. Really, I think the solution is to make half the surface streets bicycle-only and the other half car-only. Or make all two lane streets bikes on the left/cars on the right, or something along those lines. Bicycles want the privileges of cars (driving in the street as fast as possible) but not the obligations (being licensed, having insurance, obeying traffic signals, and travelling slowly enough so that if someone half a block ahead of them makes a right turn, they are able to stop). It's understandable, but dangerous, and the car culture and the bike culture really don't do well sharing the same roadspace. I personally would ride a bike MUCH more frequently if I didn't have to share the road with cars, and when I'm in a car, I find it very stressful dealing with bikes.
As a cyclist (bike messenger and racer) who has committed all of the bad behaviors you have mentioned in my younger days, I think it's really awful that you've been run into by cyclists in crosswalk (seriously). Unfortunately, cyclists, like car drivers, are allowed to function their machines with intolerably low levels of competence and respect for others. I'm curious if you ride a bicycle? If you do I'm sure you understand that you are literally under constant siege as a cyclist by motorized vehicles who do not afford you the same rights as they. And it is not your precious right of way at a four way stop that is threatened but rather your body, your physical well being. If you want to demand the same standards of cyclists as cars, then how could you in good conscience pass a cyclist in a lane and then stop and turn in front of them? I would encourage you to accept the fact that in a dense urban area there is going to be ongoing friction among all of us as we travel the streets and bikes, for better or worse, bend and break a lot of rules of the road. People on bikes are just trying to get around and like people in cars they unfortunately disrespect others while doing so, but it's your choice how you react to it. Grey
Oh Honey, You've hit a pet peeve of mine right on the head. (I know you're coming from the point of view of a pedestrian; I'm mostly a driver these days and it's even more dangerous IMO when a car is involved - not to say your situation isn't dangerous as well.) But good luck with help from the police. I've been complaining regularly about blatant red light running for several years now (having been close to broad-sided on a number of occasions), calling the non-emergency police, my beat officer, sending emails to the police department, emailing council members, the mayor... no one seems to care. I've thought of organizing a petition, but am daunted by the idea. I cynically don't think you'll get any help with bicyclists who request (demand really) that cars ''share the road'', but think nothing about ignoring all traffic laws. But to me it's just a symptom of generally increasing selfishness and ego-centricity on the road, combined with law enforcement that doesn't seem to see the value of enforcing traffic laws (except for easy tickets like California stops). Anything goes as long as I get where I'm going and (sorry) ''screw you!''. Good luck with this - I hope someone has an idea; thanks for giving me the opportunity to vent. ** Equally frustrated.
You are likely going to get some piping hot messages from bicyclists - so take a deep breath and don't take them personally. When I used to live in Chicago, I used a bicycle as my ONLY form of personal transportation and something indeed happens to you when you're on the bike, where you believe you are immune to the rules of the road. When I ride with my child, I am much more aware of being careful, but there is something that takes over as a lone rider where - I don't know if it's the adrenalyn or what - you don't feel like stopping and there's a certain feeling of confidence and one-upsmanship on the car-drivers. I'm not saying it's smart or correct - just that I definitely felt this happening.
I have to agree though, now that I am stuck in my car more often, I see the wisdom of being more careful on a bike. I don't get the bicyclists who cut-off pedestrians and I assume this is not the majority. I'm sure the police have no time to do anything about this. Maybe more helpful - signs in the neighborhoods where you walk like they have in the state parks, where it shows that bikers must watch out for walkers. If bikers are riding on the sidewalks, they probably feel unsafe on the road, so advocating with a bicycling group for better bike lanes would be helpful. Do you have a city council? Those are good meetings to bring these issues up and that way work towards resolving them rather than just getting upset and seeing it go nowhere. Best of luck
This isn't exactly advice, but what I find extremely stressful as a pedestrian is when cyclists ride on the sidewalk in downtown Berkeley; even on the congested sidewalk in front of the Y. There are also a number of adults who ride on the narrow sidewalks on University Avenue. Also, many cyclists don't stop at crosswalks, making it hard and dangerous for pedestrians (especially slow people, like me) to cross. another pedestrian
I too walk/drive/cycle through Berkeley, and am pretty disgusted with the poor cycling manners I see here. A good friend was actually knocked down by a cyclist and has endured years of pain, surgery, & inability to work due to the accident. The cyclist's excuse? ''I didn't want to lose my momentum.'' As a result I try to be extra careful on my bike as well as in my car. It bugs the snot out of me when a cyclist hogs the middle of the road and I can't pass, but what am I going to do, run him over? When I have tapped the horn, the cyclist will sometimes slow down even more or pull over and then spit on my car/berate me, etc. I always assume that in a 4 way stop that the cyclist is going to run the sign-I really don't want to kill anyone. When the cyclist does stop, i open the window and thank them. I guess those of us who cycle and also drive need to try to rise to a higher standard of behavior-which, considering the current cyclist standard, sin't too hard. trying to stay civil
I bet you get a lot of responses on this one, and I bet a lot of them will sound like mine.
Please don't lump all cyclists into the same category. Some cyclists are irresponsible, just like some drivers are. I am a 37-year-old mother of two. I don't barrel down the sidewalk. I don't ride on the sidewalk at all, in fact. I stop at red lights and stop signs. I signal my turns. If I ride at night, my bike is well-lit. I do, however, continue to ride on the shoulder with a line of stopped/slow-moving cars on my right, because it simply isn't practical to stop at the back of the line of cars when I have a clear path to the intersection ahead of me. And to the best of my knowledge, the CA vehicle code allows this. So look before you turn, please. Most of my friends, and most people who spend any amount of time on bikes, have the same sense of self-preservation that I do.
In my 15 years as a cyclist, I have been passed by cars in blind turns more times than I can count. I have had a number of drivers pass me, then cut me off to make their right turn. (One of them hit me; thankfully, I only had scrapes and bruises.) Once -- when I was pregnant -- I was riding through an intersection on a green light, and had a driver who had been stopped at the red light absentmindedly pull into the intersection and narrowly miss me. But do I rail against all drivers? No. There are good drivers, and there are idiots. And there are responsible cyclists, and there are idiots. Please don't lump us all in the same category.
Now that I've spoken out in defense of responsible cyclists, here's what to do about the idiots (on 4 wheels or 2). If you observe somebody breaking the law, engaging in reckless behavior, or endangering others, call the police and tell them what you saw. If you're calling from a cell phone in Berkeley, the police emergency line is 981-5911. And please stop stereotyping. Cycling Mama
Hi I really appreciate your email, as a regular cyclist I often get bothered by those who don't stop at stop signs and generally disobey the rules of the road. I agree but there are few clarifications to make. First except in a few cases downtown bicyclists in Berkeley have a right to ride on the sidewalk. Now that doesn't mean they can or should''barrel down and almost hit you'' but they do have the right to be there too. As far as passing on the right this is a difficult situation, you see cars pass us on the left but get very bothered when we pass on the left at slow downs and stops (like lane splitting motorcyclists do). We usually do it at stop lights and stop signs to allow the cars to proceed unimpeded. I used to try and actually wait in line behind the other cars but have stop due to screaming and swearing drivers. Now again I don't justify breezing through stop signs and stop lights but I don't approve of cars that do so either, and they do so very often. Do you complain also about all of the J- Walkers? How about speeders? California stop cars? This of course doesn't justify bicyclists breaking the law, but there are good reasons, for not coming to a ''complete'' stop on. Bike BLVDS have more stop signs that through streets. With bicycles, acceleration is slow and of course balance depends on speed. Most Bicycle BLVDS share the road with cars have parking on both sides on smaller roads causing cars to swerve around me. Again I think we should encourage everyone to obey the law and respect Bikes', Cars' and Pedestrians' rights and understand what those are. Bicyclist
How about you change you mentality a bit. SOME bicyclists are terrible on the road/ street. they don't follow rules. They are asking to be smushed by a car, or god forbid hit a pregnant woman! These are the bad ''drivers''. And then there are good ones. Your problem is with the bad ones. Find a solution for that. My tactic goes like this: (as i am usually driving) Fist thrown out of the car ''Idiot!!'' Does it change anything? Of course not. Perhaps this will have to change on a case to case basis, as each bad driver does get run over? Who knows. I highly doubt Berkeley police will regulate bicyclists, for that is one reason there are so many one ways and blocks in the road, to cut down on cops needed for parking and driving violations. But, it does sound like a good idea, however. Perhaps you could spearhead something like this. There is a law stating they must follow the same guidelines as a car. Same rules. So, perhaps inspiring the police to enforce them somehow is a great solution. I say go for it. A sometimes biker who follows all the rules
I know this will be a hot topic! I'm a bicyclist and I can't agree with you more. People on bikes need to follow the rules of the road and more importantly - act predictably! It's only fair. Everyone is in a big old hurry these days and there are some crappy drivers out there, but how can drivers avoid you if they don't know what you're doing? my 2 cents
I quite agree with you about the recent increased hazards of being a pedestrian (and automobilist) around Berkeley bicyclists. The cycle scofflaws are rampant. I don't know if it is a ''greener than thou'' attitude that is driving it or just a lack of common courtesy, but the blattant disregard for their own safety and the safety of others is really disconcerting. As a parent, I worry about the message they are sending our children, who we are diligently and responsibly trying to train into becoming safe bicyclists. I am not a ''car nazi'' by any means; my own sister and brother-in-law were struck by a hit and run driver while riding their tandem, both seriously injured. If it were not for their helmets they would be dead.
My hope is that the campus and the City of Berkeley will launch ''Bicycle safety'' campaigns in the near future. I have witnessed (many times) cyclists nearly running down pedestrians in cross walks and on sidewalks; flying through stop signs and stop lights; riding the wrong direction on a one way street; weaving in and out of traffic; and many, many other transgressions.
My own small contribution to try to stem the tide of these unsafe practices is to stand in front of bicyclists coming toward me on the side-walk, to the point where the cyclist must stop, and ask them, politely, not to ride on the sidewalk. Concerned about bicycle safety as well
Hi. I'm a cyclist, and your message is quite hostile. It actually sounded more like a rant, than a request for advice. But you ultimately asked ''is there anything that can be done?'' The answer is yes - first, get on a bike for a day to see what it's like trying to navigate around a busy city filled with pedestrians and cars. Try going up a hill and stopping at every stop sign (whether there is a car in the vicinity or not). Second, become active trying to make the city a safe place for bikes to be; bike routes, bike lanes, and increased driver awareness will all decrease the issues you are seeing.
Although you ''know if [you] hit one of these cyclists when they ran a stop sign they would assume its my fault.'', you don't seem to realize that if you hit one of these cyclists, the cyclist will suffer much much greater damage than your car. Every time a cyclist gets on a bike, they are aware that they are vulnerable, and must ride defensively. Of course we pass on the right, because that's where the bike lanes are. Are we supposed to ride around you in the middle of traffic? If you put your signal on far enough in advance that we can tell what you're planning, we will go around your left as you make a right turn, but all too often cars don't signal, speed past, and then make a right turn directly in front of the cylcist - not realizing how fast cyclists go and how alarming it is to have to slam on your brakes as a car nearly kills you. Also, there's this thing called momentum, and stopping at every single stop sign kills it. Cyclists don't have to simply move their foot over 2 inches and press gently to move - it takes effort to ride. It is reasonable that a cyclist slow down, look around and if it's safe, continue on through a stop sign. It's called a rolling stop, and is legal in some states and hopefully will be here too someday. Sorry, I guess I'm beginning a rant of my own.
Finally, I find that pedestrians in Berkeley have taken their ''right of way'' to the extreme, often stepping out into the street without pausing or looking around, just because they know that traffic is supposed to stop. All three, drivers, pedestrians, and cyclists could benefit from empathy and consideration of one another.
PS - I agree that cyclists do not belong on the sidewalk, or going wrong way down the street. Bike Commuter
I have no advice, but I can speculate on *why* we are seeing this kind of behavior in cyclists.
Bicycling is my primary mode of travel. I haven't driven a car in 15 years. I'm a mostly law-abiding, but sometimes timid cyclist, kind of like a lazy girl-scout: on the whole I follow the rules (signal and stop) and look like a nerd doing so. Occasionally I bend the rules, like slowing but not stopping at a four way stop if no one is coming.
I believe what you are observing is a general trend away from defensive cycling to offensive cycling. It's probably similar to what happened to drivers a few decades ago - I don't know because I have only lived in the Bay Area for 15 years: yes, the exact same amount of time that I haven't driven. Where I'm from, it was possible for someone to drive slowly and carefully. Not here. The norm is to drive 15 miles over the speed limit; to speed up to 40 miles an hour mid-block between stop signs. While most drivers do stop at stop signs, their behavior deplorable - not looking both ways, jumping their turn at four way stops, not signaling and blowing past the islands that are there to slow them down.
I think that cyclists now behave more and more like city bike messengers, staying one step ahead of the cars, protecting their own hide first. I am not a good enough cyclist to behave that way, so I place an unenviable amount of trust in the drivers around me. Other cyclists, especially kids and teens, have taken to the sidewalks as a defense mechanism. The stress that cyclists are under is evident. I was bicycling on Milvia through downtown and came up behind a slightly slower cyclist. I slowed down and stayed behind her. She wigged out and starting yelling at me...she thought I was going to pass her on the right. Mind you, I was a carlength behind her. She couldn't imagine someone might slow down and ride behind her willingly, or that someone might actually be polite.
In the end, I think reform needs to go much further than punishing bad bicycle behavior. I think that we need to rethink how we *all* share the roads. Without conscientious drivers, you cannot expect conscientious cyclists. In the meantime, I'm extremely hesitant to let my four year old cycle anywhere but the sidewalk. Robin
I wonder where you are walking?? I walk all over and have never had anything like this happen. I also ride my bike a lot, and am very careful. The only time I ride on the sidewalk is for short periods where the road is too crowded with cars (i.e. San Pablo, parts of Marin/Buchanan near the freeway.) anon
I found this column illuminating - if you search SFgate.com with ''jon carroll'' bicycle you'll find more. http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2009/10/26/DDRB1A9J5V.DTL With ya
I'm sorry you've had negative experiences with cyclists. I'm a regular bicycle commuter and sometimes see other cyclists behave in the manner you describe. I obey the law to the best of my knowledge, including stopping at stop signs and indicating turns. For perspective, I often see car drivers speed, tailgate, run red lights and stop signs, talk on cell phones, double park / block roadways without using hazard lights, drive without headlights, fail to use turn signals and drive the wrong way past do not enter signs. It is not only cyclists that act entitled; it is a problem with people. Some are on bikes, some in cars.
Other than having a cathartic gripe session, I'm not sure what would be more effective than getting out there yourself and setting a good example of how to ride a bicycle. It wouldn't hurt to let your local police and council members know your concerns; maybe they can allocate more resources to monitoring the problem.
I had to think about your right-hand turn comment. Go to http://bicyclesafe.com/ and check out Collision Type #6: The Right Hook to get the perspective of a cyclist. When driving, I look to my right to check for approaching cyclists (and pedestrians) before making a right hand turn. Hope this helps. Heather Ashcroft
Dear Pedestrian: I too live in Berkeley, but I travel 90% of the time by bike. I too have noticed your same observations about cyclists. What can be done? Not much, I think. Road civility is as low or lower than civility in general. The police DO give bicyclists tickets for running stop lights (heard from a fellow biker, which made me feel better about my fellows passing me at red lights), but they have bigger fish to fry most of the time. In your car you can honk at the cyclist who doesn't wait his turn at a stop. Sorry to hear you've been hit while crossing the sidewalk, but I fear any confrontation (an air-horn would be great) risks road rage. I have NEARLY hit a few pedestrians who walked into the street without looking, or were wearing dark clothes at night. I DO pass cars on the right, unless the rare driver is actually signaling his turn. I have had to slam on my brakes many times for those that don't signal, and every day I have cars speed up to pass me ''properly'' on the left, then cut me off to turn right in front of me (some nearly running down pedestrians). Conversely, when any cyclist who rides in the middle of the lane is honked at and menaced, passing on the left is an equally unsafe option. If more drivers (really) stopped at stop signs, didn't run red lights and showed more patience & civility, then more cyclists would be forced to show the same behavior. cyclist
I might be the only one who feels this way, but I was really relieved to read your post. I feel so alone in my fear of bicyclists! I live in SF and it is the same here. I've been nearly run over a couple of times by people riding their bikes on the sidewalk! Thankfully my kids weren't with me. But guess who got all of the dirty looks and glares after the bicyclist fell over trying to avoid me (a pedestrian on the sidewalk!)--it was me! I too feel that a lot of bicyclists riding on the street don't follow rules--they go through stop signs, red lights, sneak through parking lots, and zig zag through car traffic. You can't have it both ways! If they want respect then they need to follow the law. Of course not every bicyclist does this and I totally understand that riding can make people defensive--if they are in an accident they may not make it out alive. But this is no excuse to be righteous, especially when I see so many riders breaking the law. I think that cities are missing a HUGE revenue by not ticketing bicyclists for breaking traffic rules. They should make tickets amounts for running red lights, etc the same as for cars, if they don't already.
I wish this were Amsterdam with its beautiful bike baths seamlessly making their way through the city. But it is not like that here. Riding is wonderful for the environment but we all have to follow rules. -Tired of righteous riders!
I can imagine that your posting will unleash a lot of pent-up resentment against Berkeley bicyclists, much of it justified, because quite a few of us do behave badly at times. And I do bike to work on most days, and occasionally I am guilty of slowing rather than stopping at a four-way stop (though I definitely stop if there are actually cars coming to the intersection). But I wonder if it really is the case that a bike, riding to the right of traffic as a matter of course, is not allowed to pass slowed or stopped cars? I can't believe that this would be the case; the right hand side of the road is the bike's lane, as far as I see it, and yes, it is upsetting when cars don't look to see us and turn in front of us when there are LOTS of us out there. I agree absolutely that we need to be more considerate of each other, and riding on sidewalks strikes me as quite unacceptable, for instance (I almost never see cyclists doing that, by the way). But I also feel rather strongly that a car does not have rights over a bicycle just because the individual behind the wheel of a car is piloting a lot more metal than I am. It is stupid for a bicyclist to insist on right of way when a car is determined to take it, and I try to be considerate of cars. But some drivers seem fully convinced of their absolute right to priority over bikes, to the extent that they honk at me when they believe I am taking up their space in a lane (I actually have the right to ride out in the lane and will do so if there is glass or the danger of a parked car pulling out or drivers opening a car door in front of me...) We should be sharing the road here, not competing for it, and we should be making it easier, not harder, to ride bikes in Berkeley. Until the day when we have a rational plan in place for cyclists in traffic (a reasonable presence of bike lanes, for instance), drivers should be more patient and less fearful about bikes. And yes, bikers should stop hot-rodding on the streets and sidewalks. cyclist who drives
it true that bicylists don't follow the rules oft the road very often. I think some of the rule should be different - more favorable toward bikes. But as long as there are rules, everyone should have the same expectations whether they are biking, walking, or driving to make a safer environment. Personally I would not go to the police, but maybe I'm less likely than most to do so. They do pull over bikers for running stop signs, by the way. I've experienced it.
You do mention passing on the right a lot. I don't believe it is illegal to pass on the right (for anyone,) if you have a lane and can do so. Obviously not on a shoulder - read the rules put out by the DMV about passing on the right. I think you may be surprised - I was. If the bikes have a designated bike lane, they should be able to pass, why not?
Furthermore, there is a common assumption that bikes always go more slowly than cars, this simply is not true. When bikes are moving faster, they pass. Where are they supposed to pass, on the left? talk about dangerous! When anyone turns right, no matter what they are driving, they are supposed to signal AND look in their blind spot. otherwise it is unsafe and they are liable. I'm sorry I don't have much in the way of advise for you, I do think maybe you have some misconceptions about the actual rules of the road and about the mechanics of biking in the midst of cars, and you also have some good points about safety and hazards.
If bikes has the right of way over cars in places where they should and could, maybe they would be more inclined to stop and give way when they should as well. And not use sidewalks to ride on. mini-van driver
As a pedestrian in Berkeley, the attitudes of some local bicyclists really make me angry. I have seen them ride on the sidewalk, nearly hitting disabled people and small children. I have even seen mothers allowing their children to break the law by riding their bikes on the sidewalk, even on Marin where we have bike lanes! That really sets a bad example.
And then there are the bicyclists who run stop signs at 30 mph, and the ones who ride at night with no lights, and shout at you when you don't see them. It is completely unfair to set up some innocent driver to be their executioner.
When I ride a bike, I consider myself a vehicle (as the law says). I ride in the street, not on the sidewalk. I yield to pedestrians. I obey the rules of the road and stop for stop signs and red lights. And I find that car drivers here in Berkeley are remarkably polite. They stop and wait for me; they yield to me even when I have the right of way; and when they are parked at the side of the road, they check to see if bicyclists are coming. Why can't local bicyclists be as polite as the drivers?
A biker mentioned that if a car makes a right hand turn, and this was the ''bikers'' perspective, they almost got smushed, because the car made a right hand turn at a stop sign
I have news for the biker - when cars are turning right, they do not look behind then to see if someone ( a car, person bike ) is speeding up behind them and to the right.
People on bikes need to act like people driving cars - respectful. Wait in line to make the right, like a car does, and there will be no worry of you getting smushed.
I think riding on a sidewalk is a recipe for disaster - which i never do. I also can't stand when I see people holding up a line of cars ( i would never do that either - a little bit too high and mighty for me )
I think a lot of that mentality comes from many factors-for which i will not go into here. Signed a bicyclist and a car driver anon
To the person who stated ''First except in a few cases downtown bicyclists in Berkeley have a right to ride on the sidewalk'' - that's just incorrect. Here is the Berkeley Municipal Code regarding Bicycles on Sidewalks: http://www.cityofberkeley.info/bmc/Berkeley_Municipal_Code/Title_14/68/130.html So, unless you are a police officer or juvenile, you should not be riding on the sidewalk. Tired of inconsiderate bicyclists as well
I did not see the original post about cyclists not obeying traffic laws, but I read many of the responses. I would just like to say that if anybody is a proponent of cyclists following the rules of the road, I would like that same thing to be applied to motorists. Now, in order to do that, everyone needs to LEARN the rules of the road. In many of the responses, people were, in one sentence complaining about cyclists breaking the rules, and then in another complaining about cyclists doing the things they are supposed to do. I went to the California Department of Motor Vehicles and go this from their website:
When to Take the Traffic Lane: If there is no shoulder or bicycle lane and the traffic lane is narrow, ride closer to the center of the lane. This will prevent motorists from passing you when there is not enough room. You should also take the traffic lane when you are traveling at the same speed as the traffic around you. This will keep you out of motorists' blind spots and reduce conflicts with right-turning traffic.
Motorists Passing Bicyclists: Be patient when passing a bicyclist. Slow down and pass only when it is safe. Do not squeeze the bicyclist off the road. If road conditions and space permit, allow clearance of at least three feet when passing a bicyclist How may of you knew that? If a cyclist is biking in the middle of the road, chances are she is maintaining a safe distance from parked cars & doesn't want to get doored? When was the last time you checked before opening your door? Or signaled your turn? That is one of the most dangerous things for a cyclist, motorists who turn in front of them without signaling. Think about how many times you turn without signaling? Something that seems inconsequential and unimportant to you but could be pretty dangerous to a cyclist.
How many of you know the legal and safe way to turn right while driving on a street with a bike lane? Do you know why the line turns from solid to dotted at the intersection? If not, you do not know the rules of the road.
Yes, there are people out there who just don't follow the rules and they can probably give you a pretty good reason why. But, before complaining about all of the selfish cyclists out there breaking the rules, please make sure you know all of the rules of the road and are following them yourself. Berkeley resident
While the minority of cyclists ride illegally -- and shouldn't -- the rest are doing the best that they can to juggle their safety with the cars on the road, many of whom don't see them. I agree that adults should not ride on the sidewalk and that cyclists should follow the law. Two misconceptions, though.
(1) children 16 and under are legally allowed to ride on the sidewalk in California. this is a safety issue as you wouldn't want your toddler to be run over by a car that doesn't see them.
(2) it is completely legal for a bicycle to pass on the right in the bicycle lane. furthermore, it is also legal for motorcycles to pass in between lanes if the traffic is below a certain speed. during rush hour, bicycles will often pass all the stopped cars waiting for the traffic light, as will motorcycles.
My suggestion is to practice a little yoga. Think about where the other person is coming from and give them the benefit of the doubt. Remember that every bicycle is one less car causing traffic that slows you down. anon
Just a quick clarification on a previous post:
''A biker mentioned that if a car makes a right hand turn, and this was the ''bikers'' perspective, they almost got smushed, because the car made a right hand turn at a stop sign. I have news for the biker - when cars are turning right, they do not look behind then to see if someone ( a car, person bike ) is speeding up behind them and to the right.''
I was one of two people who wrote in to offer this perspective, and if you reread our posts, neither of us mentions cars turning right at a stop sign. In my case, I was approaching an intersection with no stop sign when a car passed me, then turned right just in front of me. We were both going 15-20 miles/hour, and I wasn't able to stop in time. I tried to avoid the car by turning right but instead bounced off the passenger door and went down. If I had blown through a stop sign, I would not be blaming the driver. As it was, she had just passed me 2 seconds earlier (in broad daylight) and should have known I was there. She was profusely apologetic, but said she never saw me. Cycling mama
My impression is that bicyclists don't know that they are vehicles and therefore they are required to stop, not only at a stop sign, but also when a car IN FRONT OF THEM is turning. A vehicle behind another vehicle MUST stop or slow down if the vehicle ahead stops or slows down for any reason. If the vehicle that is behind collides with the vehicle ahead, it is the fault of the vehicle BEHIND. This is true whether it is a car hitting a car, or a bicycle hitting a car.
If a bicycle isn't able to stop in time to avoid hitting a car ahead of it, that bicycle is travelling too fast. As another poster said, drivers of cars don't look BEHIND them when they are turning right. In fact, drivers are required to look in the direction they are going, and must look ahead to see if a pedestrian is in the crosswalk or a cyclist from the left blowing through the stoplight. So, please, bike at a speed that permits you to stop safely when you are in traffic. Sorry!
-- I wanted to offer another perspective on this contentious topic. After beginning to work at an organization focused on creating healthy communities to combat the childhood obesity epidemic, climate change, and related problems, I recently began riding my bicycle to work again. I'm feeling more fit and I'm not polluting, but frankly, it is terrifying. On my ride home tonight I almost got doored and I almost flew into a car that cut me off when I had the right of way.
We may think that we are healthier here, but kids in Berkeley have essentially the same rates of childhood obesity as the rest of the country -- 1/3 of kids are overweight or obese. If our kids are going to have any chance to lead long and healthy lives, we need to make it easy for them to make the healthy choice, not force them to risk their lives to make exercise part of their daily lives.
If we're going to make it easy to bicycle, then bicycles should not be treated like cars. As a matter of public policy, we should be making it easy, enjoyable, and safe to get around by bike. That means understanding that bicycles need a lot of room to avoid parked cars so they don't get doored. That means understanding that bicycles can safely treat stop signs as yield signs. Our laws should change so that we encourage bicycling instead of discouraging it.
If our streets were more bicycle friendly, then more of our bicyclists would be normal, sane, risk-averse people. Right now, you take your life in your hands when you ride a bike, and so naturally, a lot of the people riding bicycles are daredevils. Make the streets safer for bicycles and bicyclists will behave more safely for pedestrians and cars. Hoping for a Healthy Community
To go back to the original question of a pedestrian feeling threatened and upset by bicycles on the sidewalks and not minding the rules of the road - I suggest that you try biking around Berkeley yourself before you pass judgement. As a biker I find pedestrians almost as threatening as cars as they step out into crosswalks without looking, chatting on their cellphones while sipping a no-whip double latte. I sometimes wonder that more pedestrians aren't run over in Berkeley. A vast majority of peds act like they should be able to walk anywhere at any time without looking around them to make sure they're not about to get smushed!
So please pedestrians out there, remember to look both ways when you cross the road for BOTH cars and bikes because many of you think you have right of way when you actually don't. Biker, driver and pedestrian
Something an attorney told me (a very knowledgeable attorney with a substantial practice representing policyholders in insurance 1st-party bad-faith litigation), and I think this information is correct:
Anyone riding a bicycle is insured under his or her homeowner's or renter's insurance policy, not by his or her auto insurance. If what I was told by this attorney is true, any homeowner (or renter with insurance) riding a bicycle in a reckless manner that causes damage, injury, or death is risking that they can be sued for payment from their homeowner's or renter's insurance. Legally, a bicycle-with-rider is a vehicle, NOT A PEDESTRAIN. Because a bicycle-with-rider is a vehicle, if a bicycle-with-rider hits a pedestrian, that bicycle-with-rider could be found guilty of assault with a vehicle or a wide variety of vehicular violations. Evidently, one of the most common ''reckless manner'' convictions when a bicyclist rides as though a bicycle-with-rider is a pedestrian. Also, because a bicycle-with-rider is a vehicle, NOT A PEDESTRAIN, four-wheeled vehicles are NOT REQUIRED TO STOP for a bicycle-with-rider, no matter just how privileged and oh-so-very superior that bicycle-with-rider believes himself or herself to be.
This attorney also mentioned, with emphasis, that a bicyclist who is not wearing appropriate head protection when an accident happens, regardless of who is found to blame for the accident, is risking that any insurance company can contend that that bicyclist was not taking appropriate precautions. If a bicyclist fails to take appropriate precautions, health insurance, life insurance, and homeowner's insurance companies can (and have) denied any payment of any kind from his or her contract of insurance. This attorney also told me that, to be a pedestrian, not a vehicle, any rider has to FULLY DISMOUNT from their bicycle. To be a pedestrian, the person has both feet on one side of the bicycle, and not be straddling the bicycle. It seems to me, it's way past time bicyclists pay attention to the traffic laws. Careful driver and more careful bicyclist
I have my own list of complaints about the behavior of drivers, bicyclists, and pedestrians, but I think the best thing that anyone concerned can do is to become involved in your community's traffic and safety planning process. Most Bay Area cities either have ''bicycle safety plans'' or are developing them. Some cities have commissions which meet regularly to discuss such issues. We need to look for ways to configure our communities to make our streets and sidewalks safer for everyone. The one unambiguously positive thing I can say about the suburban community in which I grew up is that it has miles and miles of dedicated bike lanes. I'm sure this only happened because the community organized and demanded it!
Here is a bit of starter information for getting involved in our communities: Berkeley: http://www.cityofberkeley.info/ContentDisplay.aspx?id=13086 Albany: http://www.albanyca.org/index.aspx?page=93 El Cerrito: http://www.el- cerrito.org/public_works/BikePed.html Oakland: http://www.oaklandnet.com/parks/news/041307a.asp John
What a fascinating discussion. I've been on both sides--swearing at bicyclists who I felt acted ''entitled'' on occasion during the past ten years, but now am trying to commute 5.5 miles each way per day from the claremont area to emeryville.
My husband is joining me in this. We got rid of one car and want to see if we can make it being as eco and exercise-friendly as so many other cities seem to be able to be: Copenhagen, Amsterdam, Portland, even Paris and London. We were inspired by this after spending several weeks in London this summer and seeing how well it works.
It is terrifying out there on a bicycle, even sticking to bicycle boulevards (thank heavens for those) and following the rules. I have been yelled at for stopping at a light on the bicycle icon which the city has painted on the intersection for bicyclists to trigger the light. The car behind me couldn't see why I wasn't on the sidewalk. The same thing happened to my husband, who was almost intentionally bumped into by a car who just wanted him out of the way so that they could speed through the intersection when the light turns green.
I think it is clear that there are bad transgressions on both sides...I think the interesting point, is it on our best interest as a society to encourage bicycling, and how do we do it in a way that makes it safe and as non-contentious as possible for everyone?
In London, they are actively encouraging bicycle commuting. You can sign up for a two hour private coaching session in a park near to you when you start riding in a commute situation so that you can learn safety tips.
The point for me is that this isn't by itself the answer, but when we gave up our car, it wasn't for selfish reasons--it takes extra time and effort and TONS of planning and inconvenience to commute by bike (how are those cookies going to get delivered to the kids school?), but for us it is worth it as we want to help our community, and with traffic and global warming, not to mention the obesity epidemic that another poster brought up, we want to help by setting an example.
What I'd love to see is our community saying ''bicycles on the road are a net positive to our cities and our health--how can we work together, and work to push our city government--to evolve to make it work as well as it does in other cities here are abroad?'' a new bike convert
I am looking for a bicycle safety class (preferably Berkeley and on the weekend for a working mom) for my 14 year old son who just got a road bicycle and he wants to train on it this summer. He is preparing for a 200 mile school bike trip that he will be participating in this fall in high school.He has mostly rode with me in the past but during the summer he will be riding on his own and needs more instruction (my opininon). I have contacted East Bay Bike Coalition and they don't have any classes..nor does Missing Link where we bought the bike. Bike safety conscious mom.
There seems to be a real gap in the market for bicycle safety classes for teenagers. I wanted one for my 13-year old who was getting a fixie to ride to school etc, and couldn't find any.
In the end Dave Campbell, the chair of the East Bay Bike Coalition, said that if an adult/parent went to the class with him, my son could attend their safety course. Which is what he did. And I would highly recommend it. He is definitely more savvy about predicting driver behavior and taking precautions. Maybe if enough people express an interest in a teenager course the EBBC will organize one. You can reach Dave Campbell on: dcampbel [at] lmi.net (note just one ''L'') or 510-701-5971 Good luck. Tracey
Check with your local police dept, especially if it has a bike division. I know the El Cerrito Police give classses to school groups and are also available at the El Cerrito 4th of July fair. EC mom