Bluebikes will host a free workshop in Everett on Thursday, July 25, with the goal of educating residents about how to use the Bluebikes bike-share system and how to safely and comfortably navigate city cycling.
The class will include drills led by an instructor, followed by a short bike ride along the Northern Strand Community Trail. This safety course is part of the contractual obligations of Bluebikes for operating in the City of Everett. As of right now, it is the only one scheduled, though there is the possibility of others in the future.
The event comes after a call for more emphasis on bike safety from City Councilor Fred Capone, and is one part of the City’s larger initiative to build a robust biking culture in Everett. Other components include additional bike lanes, improvements to bike trails, new road safety technologies and educating the public about biking regulations through ECTV and social media.
The administration acknowledges that bicycle safety is not only about educating cyclists, but also about educating drivers about how to keep cyclists safe.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, hundreds of cyclists die every year in motor vehicle accidents. Cycling advocates say drivers can reduce those deaths by understanding what is expected of them on the road.
Cities around the world are taking different approaches to addressing this issue. In an initiative called Share the Road, New Zealand requires bus drivers to take cycling classes so that drivers can learn to appreciate what it’s like to cycle around heavy vehicles. This comes amid concerns that bus drivers were cutting off cyclists and generally behaving aggressively.
Cities have also been able to reduce cycling fatalities with conscientious road design choices. According to a recent 12-city study in the Journal of Transport and Health, roads with protected or separated bike lanes make both cycling and driving safer. Fatal crash rates dropped by 44 percent in cities with the most separated bike lanes, marked by vertical barriers, landscaping or differences in elevation.
The Bluebikes workshop will take place from 6-7:30 p.m. at the parking lot off Airforce Road and Tremont Street. Register at eventbrite.com/e/learn-to-bluebike-tickets-65174408410.