My experience as a novice Austin biker:
I recently took a 3- hr seminar on lawfully riding a bike in Austin and it was very informative. Our instructor went over subjects like: proper signaling, traffic maneuvering and Austin biking statistics. I was shocked at all the things I did not know about biking and how there were so many rules for the people I seen carrying on daily life.
After the class session the question was asked did I feel safer if I were to ride a bike, the answer is definitely, “No!”. I say that only because when I was a kid, biking meant fun and carefree days and now as a “novice city biker”, there are so many things to be weary of, like, buses and drivers not seeing you.
The next portion of training was actually taking a bike out to cycle. It was a ton of fun! We rode around for about an hour and then hauled it in with some constructive criticism from our instructor. It was a great ride, even though, there are a ton of reasons why I am afraid, I still can’t ignore the reasons why I would ride a bike. There are a ton of (1) healthy obvious reasons why bike riding is beneficial- avid bike riders usually eat healthier and are more physically fit. (2)It is feasible- I am rolling the numbers in my head on how much I would save on gas, if I simply biked short distances. (3) Lastly, I would cut down on my carbon-foot print if I simply didn’t drive so much!
Even though, I started off afraid of riding a bike in the streets of Austin, I was easily persuaded after a 1-hour ride around the neighborhood. There are many programs in Austin to get you “bike ready” for the streets. All you need to do is a little research and you will find yourself enjoying all the benefits of pushing two pedals and you will look “Bike-alicious” doing it!
Icye Walker, Sierra Club Intern