With the increase in bicyclists around town, Denton police want to ensure cyclists’ safety on the roadways.
Registration is underway for a free “Smart Cycling: Traffic Skills 101” all-day training course Saturday, Sept. 7, at the Denton Police Department. The course is open to those ages 15 and older and is a combination of classroom and on-bike activity to provide cyclists the skills required to ride alongside motor vehicles.
“It’s a lot of fun, and we even go out for a ride on the street together as a group to implement what we have learned,” said Lt. Tom Woods, who’s been a cyclist in the area for 26 years.
Woods said he has observed riders not heeding stop signs and red lights at busy intersections — something that is not only unsafe for riders but for motorists as well.
“If you are going to enroll in class, you will not only gain valuable experience needed to make your commute a safe one but you will just have an enjoyable day,” he said. “We are in the classroom for about two-and-a-half, three hours and the rest of the time we are on our bikes.”
The course, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., will teach riders bicycle safety checks, how to fix a flat and crash-avoidance techniques.
The course is free, but riders are required to bring their own bikes, helmets and other essentials.
Bikes without freewheel capability and mechanical brakes will not be allowed, Woods said.
The curriculum, approved by the League of American Bicyclists, also offers participants a chance to receive league certification by taking a 30-question written exam and on-bike road test.
The League of American Bicyclists has been around since the 1800s and represents more than 57 million cyclists in the United States, according to its website, www.bikeleague.org.
The certification doesn’t cost anything, and Woods said it could help in court, should someone find themselves in an accident.
“Sometimes riders get written off because they are riding a ‘toy.’ But if you show the judge you took the time to become road savvy, they will see you know what you are talking about,” he said.
Woods said the class is not for those who just use their bike for play. The class is geared for riders who use their bikes as a primary mode of transportation.
Organizers hope to see the course fill up quickly and are looking forward to conducting more in the near future.
“Eventually, this will be offered through Denton Parks and Recreation, but right now it’s free to anyone,” he said.
To register for the course, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
MEGAN GRAY can be reached at 940-566-6885 and via Twitter at @MGrayNews.