Sunday, July 29, 2007

About bikes at SJSU

Student Cyclist at SJSU

I don't think the University appreciates the risk
I am a member of, and a former member of the board of directors of, an almost 1000 member bicycle club called the Almaden Cycling Touring Club (ACTC). Our club has what we call "The Academy" where we teach new members how to ride safer and how to wear the appropriate gear, like properly fitted bike helmets. You cannot go on an ACTC bicycle ride without a helmet. Many of our members are bicycle commuters and bicycle tourists and ride tens of thousands of miles a year. Bicycling is dangerous. Despite being an experienced cyclist who actually taught in our academy one of our members, Bill Bliss, was killed a few years ago by motorists. We have a member of our club die while riding about every year or two. Cycling deaths in our area happen much more frequently. It is not just cars that threaten cyclists.

Take for example the recent death of Deborah Johnson, a 54-year old Palo Alto business consultant, who was riding with a group of friends on Sand Hill Road last Sunday when she fell and struck her head. There was no car involved and Johnson was wearing a helmet.

Most bicyclists at SJSU do not wear helmets or other appropriate safety gear. Most bicyclists on the SJSU campus do not know how to ride in ways that reduce the risk of accident. I do not see a need for the university to change the rules and allow people to ride bicycles through the campus core. But, if we do change the rules, we need to assure cyclists are wearing appropriately fitted cycling safety gear and that they have been appropriately trained.

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