Bike Friendly Community Corner
by Bike Friendly Advocacy Committee (BFAC)
“More About Safety…Again!”
People tell us we should publish some articles about safety and maybe even teach some classes. Well, we have. About seven years ago the President of The VHA invited us to publish bicycling related safety articles in The VHA Voice. Since then, we have published eighty-four articles in our 450-word Bicycle Friendly Community Corner.
The Villages is a truly a bike friendly community, being recognized nationally by the League of American Bicyclists. This means that The Villages supports cycling with robust infrastructure (engineering), inclusive cycling opportunities (equality), education, self-assessment (evaluation), and positive encouragement.
Over the last eight years, we averaged teaching three six-hour sessions per year of adult education through The Enrichment Academy. The classes emphasize three main safety topics:
- First, we invest two hours going over Rules of the Road, including How to Navigate Roundabouts. This Death-by-Power Point program brings bicyclists in The Villages up to speed about bike laws in Florida. No one actually dies and the dialogue is always lively. Some Gulliver always exclaims: “I never knew that.” VOILA, the light comes on!
- The second part of the class is basic maintenance. Bikes need more maintenance than cars to keep them operational, reliable, and safe. It is always a joy to observe a student successfully pump air into a bike tire. Another “VOILA!”
- The third phase of the class is riding in an actual bike rodeo. The instructors, all certified by the League of American Bicyclists, pace the class through a series of progressively challenging drills, culminating in a group ride that traverses a tunnel.
We also teach kids via The Villages Camp Villages. We have averaged three sessions per year for seven years. We teach the same things as we do the adults but in two-hours vs. six for adults. Hey, kids have more agile minds and quicker reflexes than their fossilized grandparents.
We have also taught at schools in the tri-county area, including The Villages Charter School. We think it is important to “start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old, they will not turn from it.” Bicycle and pedestrian safety education might also save a child from injury, or worse, when they are out-and-about on their own.
Our schedules are published in The Enrichment Academy flier and on its webpage (https://www.theenrichmentacademy.org). All classes are a lot of fun, educational, and cheap at $10 per session. Check us out, you might learn something. Diana Mirkin is Boss/Chairperson. Dave Lawrence is Safety Director. Rose Jordan is Operations Director. Bob Jordan is Education Director. John Rohan is our Recreation Department Mentor.