Cyclists learn to share the road

Instructor Mike Sherman demonstrates changing a flat tire.
I have been riding my bike for over 30 years –commuting, touring and even a brief stint as a racer. In July, I joined six other people for an eight-hour cycling class. The class was taught by League of American Bicyclist certified instructors Ann Whalen and Mike Sherman. The course included classroom instruction, bike skills in a closed parking lot and road riding.

I was not sure if I would learn anything new; but, I did, including confirmation that Ohio law gives cyclists the right to ride on the road. The law strongly supports bicycles as vehicles on the road. For adults, riding on the road, with an established set of rules, is usually the safest place to ride.

Our instructors used the phrase “driving your bike,” creating the image of bicycle as vehicle. Ohio law provides cyclists with the same rights as other vehicles on the road.

Most people who don’t ride their bike cite fear of traffic as the main reason. Taking a cycling class can give cyclists the confidence and skills needed to ride a bike more often.

Cleveland Heights resident Linda Rasmussen took the class with her new bike. “The instruction made me much more confident on my bike,” she said. “I’ve been riding more already.”

Statistics about frequency of bicycle accidents reflect a common sense fact: Educated, experienced cyclists are the safest. Children, especially those who have had no instruction, have the most accidents.

The League of American Bicyclists offers classes for adults and children. See the LAB website for class locations.

Bicycling Tips

For Cyclists:
  • Ride with the flow of traffic.
  • Ride 2-3 feet from the curb leaving room to maneuver away from hazards such as glass, potholes, gravel, and grates.
  • Use secondary roads when possible.
  • Purchase NOACA bike route maps for northeast Ohio counties, available at local bike shops.
  • On narrow roads or lanes, ride in the right tire track or near the center of the lane. This will prevent cars from passing too close.
  • Signal when you plan to turn.

For Motorists
  • Leave at least three feet of space when passing a bicyclist.
  • Reduce speed when passing.
  • When turning left at an intersection, yield to an oncoming bicyclist, as with any vehicle.
  • When turning right, do not turn in front of a cyclist who is on your right.
  • Do not honk your horn at cyclists.
  • Look for cyclists before opening your car door.
  • Don’t underestimate the speed that bicycles can travel. Most riders travel at 10-20 mph.
  • Ohio law allows cyclists to ride two abreast.

For more information about sharing the road and safe bicycling, see the League of American Bicyclists website: and Ohio Bike Laws at

Joy Henderson is an avid cyclist who rides for fitness and is trying to change her habits to include cycling for transportation. She dedicates this article to the late Miles Coburn, cyclist, educator and advocate for reducing our carbon footprint.
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Volume 1, Issue 6, Posted 9:39 PM, 08.25.2008