Test Your Skills.
Riding a bike is a little like driving a car (if you’ve never driven a car,
you’ll just have to trust us on this one.) Both can be fun. They're both great skills
to have. And if you’re careless, both can be really dangerous.
And just like driving tests for cars, one of the ways you can improve your skills
on the bike is with a driving test. These skills tests, or bike rodeos, are an important
part of learning to ride in the real world – for kids, and even adults who haven’t
been on a bike in a long time.
There are two ways to test your skills at a bike rodeo. One way is to look for a
bike rodeo in your area. They’re sometimes held by local governments, cycling clubs
or schools. The other approach is to put together your own course. And, thankfully,
some who really know about bike safety have done hard work for you.
- The Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute has a great guide for a five-step bike rodeo
that includes bicycle inspection, helmet safety, entering traffic, how to approach
intersections, and swerving. You can find it here.
- The Utah Department of Health has a great bike rodeo guide you can download. This
is a great guide for building a do-it-yourself bike rodeo. It has all kinds of diagrams
for different skills like tight turns, intersections, even a slow race – where the
last one across the line wins.
- It’s not real skills test, but the state of Pennsylvania has a Bicycle Driver’s
Manual that’s a lot like the driver education book for a car. It’s full of information
especially useful for older kids and up – including how to ride in groups, how to deal
with rude drivers and how to steer out of trouble. You can find it here.
- You can always try your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles for bike safety info
in your area because the rules of the road do differ from state to state. But keep
this in mind – reading something in a book doesn’t mean you know how to do it.
- And if you’re looking to be a truly experienced safe rider, the League of American
Bicyclists can help. They certify League Cycling Instructor (LCI) to teach bike
skills, basic maintenance and more. You can find the one nearest you at their website.
Here’s a tip: If you’re an adult rider in a big city, check for local rider safety
courses that specifically deal with the sometimes harrowing issues that urban cyclists and
bike commuters face every day.