Just a few days after some Bethesda residents bemoaned safety problems that could come with Capital Bikeshare next year, a local cyclist organization is bringing a safety education course to the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Rescue Squad.
The Washington Area Bicyclist Association will hold one of its Confident City Cycling classes at the Rescue Squad (5020 Battery Lane) at 11 a.m. on Saturday.
The three-hour session is designed for riders of all experience levels and will teach basic techniques of safe cycling on city streets. WABA is asking those interested in attending to register on its website. Participants must bring their own bikes, helmets and water and will be required to sign liability waivers.
Background study is strongly recommended before the class, with an online traffic skills tutorial. The class will eventually be split into two groups, a beginner or “Trails” group and an intermediate or “Traffic” group.
The fee is $10 for WABA non-members and $5 for WABA members.
With 29 downcounty Capital Bikeshare stations (and 11 in Bethesda) planned for spring 2013, county officials including County Executive Isiah Leggett and County Councilmembers Nancy Floreen (D-At large) and Roger Berliner (D-Bethesda-Potomac) say they’re aware of the safety issues novice bike riders might face.
Floreen recently asked the State Highway Administration to consider bike lanes and lane markings conducive to cyclists in all its upcoming Montgomery County projects.
In their discussion about Bikeshare on Monday, members of the Western Montgomery County Citizens Advisory Board and other residents focused on the danger bikers could pose to pedestrians on sidewalks or in crosswalks. Jack Cochrane, a Bethesda resident and bike activist, explained how many drivers don’t know that cyclists are allowed to take up a lane if there are no dedicated bike lanes available.
He suggested the county look at re-marking a number of Bethesda roads, including turning four-lane Arlington Road into three lanes of car traffic with a center turn lane and dedicated bike lane.
In an August report, CountyStat showed eight reported bicycle collisions in downtown Bethesda in 2011.