According to the advertisers, it’s the most wonderful time of the year. As summer draws to a close, students at schools, universities, and colleges all head back to class. The back-to-school season reminds me that one of the things that often is brought up when discussing the behaviour of cyclists is the idea that all cyclists should be required to take a course before being allow to ride on the roads.
There are a number of different types of classes offered to cyclists in Vancouver. HUB (formerly the Vancouver Area Cycling Coalition) offers a number of classes, targeting different experience levels.
Streetwise Cycling Courses are 4 1/2 hours (one day) courses aimed at making cyclists more comfortable riding in traffic. The course is suitable for ages 16+. Thanks to support from the City of Vancouver, these courses are only $10!
Adult Learn to Ride courses are private lessons ($150 for HUB members, $175 for non-members) that teach the basics of riding a bike.
The Can Bike program is a national program that includes a series of courses with certified instructors. On successful completion of each course, participants are awarded certificates. HUB has offered the Can Bike II course (although none are scheduled right now), which is “an advanced course in defensive cycling for commuters and recreational cyclists who already ride in traffic.”
You can also find out information on courses from the BC BikeSense website, although it definitely has a Victoria bias.
Pedalheads is a popular series of cycling courses, although they tend to be aimed at children rather than adults. Pedalheads operates only through the summer. Registration for the 2013 season opens on February 26th, and spaces go quickly.
There are also some smaller bike schools too. For example, on the North Shore there is the Shore Bike Camps which offers instruction to kids of all ability ranges, with a focus of teaching how to ride off roads.
In addition to learning how to ride, and how to deal with traffic, the other popular type of bicycle-oriented courses are maintenance courses. Our Community Bikes offers a monthly “Introduction to Mechanics/Maintenance” course, UBC’s Bike Coop offers similar courses, as do quite a number of local bike shops.
HUB also offers introductory maintenance courses (again only $10 due to support from the City of Vancouver), and some higher-level courses too.
There are lots of different bike-related courses that Vancouverites can take, but I must admit that I’ve never taken one. I remember taking some sort of course when I was in elementary school on the opposite side of the country, but beyond hand signals, I don’t recall much of what was taught. My eldest son is enrolled in a bike camp this week and is learning some riding skills, but many of the things he’s learning at the camp are skills that might be picked up just through regular riding.
Have you ever taken any bike courses? Do you think that cycling courses, in particular “how to ride in traffic” classes should be mandatory for cyclists on Vancouver’s roads?
Last modified: September 3, 2012