Bicyclists train for traffic safety at class

LIHU‘E — A car is barreling down on you while you’re riding a bicycle. What do you do?

That scenario as well as more basic ones like getting the right fit were part of the Traffic Skills 101 bicycling class taught by Thomas Noyes, Saturday, at the Department of Health building in Pua Loke.

“This is not as easy as I thought it would be,” said Celia Wood, a recreational bicyclist. “I’m glad I’m learning the safe way to ride.”

The class for adults comes on the heels of a similar class taught to the county’s “summer fun” children led by Dr. Randy Blake, president of the Kaua‘i Path, last week.

The day-long class comes with a pricetag of $50, but Noyes, a certified League of American Bicyclists instructor, said the Kaua‘i Path is offering a discount of $35 for the next class scheduled for Aug. 20.

With the discount, the cost lowers to $15 for each student 14 years and older and includes lunch.

“I took my first class in 1981 when I was living in Honolulu,” Wood said. “It was hosted by the Hawai‘i Bicycling League, but since then, there have been a lot of changes and this class is intense.”

During the class, she said the group was taken out for a ride to Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School and there was an incident with a motorist.

People have to come to grip with the fact that there are bicycles on the road.

“Everyone needs to share the road,” she said.

Wood said she rides with local community groups during the Kaua‘i rides, both supported and unsupported, and the class does a lot of help riders learn how to improve their handling of bicycles. Noyes showed riders a trick on how to keep a bicycle tracking on a straight line while scanning back for cars.

Additional areas include skills and basic bicycle maintenance, including how to fix a flat tire, a skill necessary when participating in an unsupported ride where riders need to have the necessary skills and materials to repair a flat tire should one occur.

The bicycle traffic safety class led by certified League of American Bicyclists instructors is made possible through the efforts of the Kaua‘i Path and the Communities Putting Prevention to Work, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention national program to combat obesity.

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