The League of American Bicyclists has been teaching bicycling skills and building riding confidence to people nation wide through their League Cycling Instructors(LCIs) since the 1970’s. Now the League is taking that program one step further in developing a Bicycle Friendly Driver Program to educate motorized vehicle drivers about how and why bicyclist travel the roadways. Alison Dewey is the League’s Director of Education and has shared some details on the Bicycle Friendly Driver program.
“I bet you save a life every day with the stuff you teach,” exclaimed one City of Fort Collins Bus Operator after taking the Bicycle Friendly Driver class. This is just one of the many testimonials that demonstrate the effectiveness and value of the Bicycle Friendly Driver program,created by the City of Fort Collins. The curriculum aims to educate motorized vehicle drivers about how and why bicyclists travel the roadways in the ways they do with the objective of developing a shared understanding for all users. The League has coordinated with the city to repackage the program materials to be distributed nationally to its network of nearly 6,000 League Cycling Instructors (LCIs). “We are thrilled to be offering this very important curriculum to all LCIs, we hope it is put to use right away,” said Bill Nesper, Executive Director at the League.
League Cycling Instructors will have access to teaching materials, certificates of completion, and promotional stickers to help facilitate the training in their community. “Historically, bicycling safety education has been focused on teaching bicyclists how to navigate the roadways safely. The Bicycle Friendly Driver curriculum packages bicycling safety education from a different perspective, one to which more people can relate, from the motor vehicle driver perspective,” states Jamie Gaskill-Fox with the City of Fort Collins who has led the program since its inception in late 2015. “This allows us to reach more people and to create a common understanding about the laws associated with bicyclists and motorists sharing roadways.”
In just over two years, the program has reached more than 3,300 people in Northern Colorado. The program toolkit, that was debuted by Gaskill-Fox at the 2017 National Bike Summit, has been downloaded nearly 220 times by people in 44 states and 3 countries. Gaskill-Fox was invited to again provide the Bicycle Friendly Driver training at the 2018 National Bike Summit. In coordination with the League, she has produced and recorded the Bicycle Friendly Driver training in webinar format so that LCIs can have on-demand access to the training. The webinar provides additional training to help LCIs understand the objectives and successfully deliver the curriculum.(The webinar is available to LCIs through logging in to the Bike League Hub.)
The Bicycle Friendly Driver curriculum is geared toward large vehicle drivers such as buses, delivery trucks, and tractor trailers, but as any bicyclists knows, what benefits large vehicle drivers can also benefit smaller vehicle drivers. The class is beneficial for any type of motorized vehicle driver. “The curriculum is designed to humanize road users and create a shared understanding about people’s rights on roadways. In addition, the Bicycle Friendly Driver curriculum is data-driven and is designed to highlight and teach people how to avoid the biggest safety issues seen in each community,” added Gaskill-Fox. “It teaches general concepts that create shared understanding by all road users about how and why we travel our roadways … It saves lives and it makes the roadways safer for all people.”
The League is excited to offer a bike education component that reaches new audiences and expands the idea of bike safety to roadway safety. “This is a critical training for any roadway user and especially important for organizations that are responsible for who they put behind the wheel,” added Bill Nesper, League Executive Director.
Photo credit for all photos: Jamie Gaskill Fox