Sunday, June 19, 2016

Traffic skills for cyclists: MSP options

Just did some research on bicycle traffic training options for St Paul and Minneapolis (MSP, Twin Cities). I found:

See also:

Update 6/21/2015. I did the Houston City online version of the TS 101 class. It took about 20 minutes (not 5 hours), but I knew the material already. I wrote some quick reactions in an email to a friend who teaches this class…

… I passed so I can now access the reference material on

The course is a neat introduction to cycling, but for me it was a bit of an odd mix. The sections on maintenance, bike types and purchase aren't really part of traffic safety. Rock dodge and Instant Turn are neat technical moves, but really almost nobody is going to learn those.

I'd have wanted to see more on visibility issues (fog, dark shadow, use of daytime lights, twilight), identifying and managing distracted drivers, assessing risks of rear ending at stops from distracted drivers, route selection (google maps is good), traffic speed and risk of death, watching for poor/angry/impaired drivers, trail etiquette expansion, specific recommendations on hideous yellow/orange vs. generic "bright colors", more on reflective gear and clothing, more on bike light choice and blinkies, more on reflective helmets, etc.

Single biggest omission was route selection and assessing road risks explicitly. Biggest change in last few years is smartphone-distracted drivers, but probably hasn’t been time to respond to that.

I think some of this material is sensitive because course is a mixture of advocacy (bicycling great!) and risk management (human drivers incompetent). So maybe reluctant to say "You are engaged in a risky activity. To minimize risk stay on bike trails and watch for incompetent cyclists. When you drive with cars you are taking more risks. Here is how to minimize them if you decide you still want to do this..."

RelatedBe the Best You Can Be: Special needs urban bicycling - what streets are safe?

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