In addition to educating bicyclists about how to ride safely in traffic, it is important that motorists be educated about how to share the road with bicyclists. This is especially important for motorists who are not bicyclists themselves and who may be less familiar with the risks bicyclists face when operating in traffic.
The FHWA Bicycling Safety Education Resource Guide and Database described in the section on Bicyclist Education also contains information on programs and materials for educating motorists.2 Example topic areas of importance to motorists are communications and sharing the road, the impact of large motor vehicles on bicycles, children’s basic riding skills, how to pass groups of bicyclists, and how to operate in the presence of bike lanes.
FHWA’s bicyclinginfo.org Web site contains additional tips for educating motorists about cycling, along with links to Web-based resources and materials (http://www.bicyclinginfo.org/ee/ed_motorist.htm). In discussing education programs for motorists, the site urges that emphasis be given to the benefits of sharing the road (safer, more inviting streets, a better environment, etc.), the fact that bicycling is a viable means of transportation, and the bicyclists’ right to use the roadway. The Web site also contains links to many bicyclist safety education programs, tools and resources that can be used by professionals planning a program as well as by individual bicyclists. For motorists, there is a section on "Understanding Cyclist Behavior in Traffic" with links to the following materials from the League of American Bicyclists:
- 10 Commandments of Cycling
- Principles of Traffic
- How to Avoid Motorist Errors
- Bike Lanes — What They Are and How They Work
- Riding Right — On the Right
- Driving at Night — Look for Their Lights
In addition to providing information in the form of brochures and other
print materials, motorists can also be educated through signs (e.g., reminders
to "Share the Road") (see case studies #41, 45,
through information provided on walking or bicycling maps (see case
study #51), and through information contained in driver license handbooks.
The primary goal of these efforts is to create a safer, more positive climate
for cycling among the general motoring public and possibly to recruit additional
- Educate motorists about how to safely share the road with bicyclists and motivate them to act on this knowledge.
- Promote bicycling among motorists who otherwise might not consider bicycling as a viable transportation mode and a way to be physically active.
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- The target audience of motorists is much broader than that of bicyclists, and not all may have a positive mindset towards bicyclists. It is important that bicyclists not aggravate the situation by disobeying traffic laws or otherwise not riding responsibly in traffic.
- As with bicyclist education, motorist education requires a long-term commitment.
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Costs for motorist education programs or initiatives are generally less than those for bicyclist education, especially on-road bicycling instruction. The primary cost is for any print materials and any additional costs associated with updating educational materials (such as the state driver license manual or state driver education program materials).
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