Bicycling Lecture’s Advice on Safety, Law, Clothing, Maintenance and More

Bicycling Lecture’s Advice on Safety, Law, Clothing, Maintenance and More

(Sam Gurwin, June 8, 2018)

Ferndale, MI – “Tiger Lily”, a vintage road bicycle from the 80’s, sat against the wall at the Ferndale Area District Library, ready to be displayed during local bicycling expert Meredith Begin’s class on Bicycling Education. This “Bicycling 101” class centered on safety, etiquette, advocacy, equipment, law, clothing and maintenance.

The lecture was fun, entertaining and informative. “The more you ride, the more comfortable you get” Begin said.

A surprise to some is that sidewalks are NOT the safest place to ride. This is because vehicles have limited visibility and may not see the bike when they are pulling in or out of driveways and parking lots, or making turns.

Riding on the road, one must be at least 3 feet from car doors as “getting doored” (as she calls it) is a terrible thing!

Being aware of one’s surroundings like storm drains and other people was also emphasized. Seemly common sense, wearing a helmet and keeping alert are all characteristics of a good ride. Always be VISIBLE & PREDICTABLE in your riding, she said.

To be aware is to be safe. Begin is very comfortable with driving on the road close to cars but understands other people are not, and that drivers may not be comfortable either.  Teaching courtesy and respect, she mentioned that it does no good to get angry when being cut off or yelled at by drivers.

If riding on sidewalks or streets with people on them, or in crosswalks, pedestrians have the right of way. By law if coming up on a pedestrian, a person on a bike must ring a bell or make an audible warning.

Begin has gone to Washington D.C. to advocate for better bike laws, and has continued this trend in Michigan. Advocacy comes in wanting to change the laws to be more welcoming of bicyclists, and in promoting complete streets designs that encourage cars and bikes to “share the road.” Changing the laws, the infrastructure and the attitudes about complete streets can be an uphill ride, but more and more communities are more open to bike-friendly atmospheres. Ferndale in particular has made great strides in adding bike lanes and promoting bicycle culture.


There are different kind of bicycles for different terrains:
HYBRID/URBAN for those “around Town trips”
MOUNTAIN BIKE for trails but not good for the road.
FAT TIRE BIKE for snow rides.

Bike locks are also essential. “Always lock your bike,” Begin emphasized.  She said to make sure you get the frame as well as wheels in the lock.

Helmets and tool-kits are also needed. Road repairs might be necessary and having the proper gear could really help get you out of a jam. Begin also recommends:
*Bike Pumps;
*Cash & Change;
*Utility Belts;
*Multi-Tools for repairs; and
*Spare Bike Tubes

*Regular checks of tires and oiling of bike chains

Begin said that complete streets rules have gone a long way in providing better places for bicyclists to ride. This includes requiring design elements like bike lanes, accessible curbs (for bikes, walkers, wheelchairs, strollers etc) and signage with certain types of road improvement projects.

For bicyclists and drivers, there are rules of the road. Essentially a bicyclist must follow the same rules as drivers, including obeying traffic signs and lights. They must also ride as far to the right as is safe if going slower than the flow of traffic.  Additional rules can be found at this RULES OF THE ROAD guide.


Begin’s “Bicycling 101” lecture is sure to help the kids and adults who attended to be better cycling citizens.

Check out  RULES OF THE ROAD for more info.

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