This morning, as I was riding to the office, I hit a red light. And I stopped and waited for it to turn green. As WABA’s DC Bike Ambassador, I do this a lot. What’s more, it’s part of my job to try and get everybody else to do it too. Even among WABA members, encouraging cyclists to obey the law can be a challenging task. So, it was both a pleasant surprise and an unfortunate indicator of how much work I have left to do when a motorist pulled up alongside of me at that red light and rolled down his window to say:
“You’re the first cyclist I’ve ever seen follow the laws!”
And then he gave me a thumb’s up and drove away. This is exactly what WABA has long been working towards: making the streets a safer and more enjoyable place for bicyclists, and consequently, all other road users too. Safe bicycling is not just about keeping bicyclists safe, it’s also about respecting the safety of others.
So this winter, WABA is announcing our Resolution to Ride Responsibly, an online New Year’s resolution that we encourage all cyclists in DC, Maryland and Virginia to take. The arrival of a new year is the perfect time to reflect on the past and to change bad habits, make personal improvements and lay the foundation for the next twelve months. We want people who ride bicycles–whether for fun, for work, or for transportation to either one–to think about what it means to ride safely and responsibly and to make these things their priority for 2011.
WABA’s Resolution to Ride Responsibly
…I resolve to be a more responsible bicyclist.
…I resolve to better respect the rights of other road users.
…I resolve to make a good faith effort to better follow the law.
…I resolve to yield to pedestrians.
…I resolve to help make bicycling safer and easier for all of us.
Please click here to sign the Resolution! Help WABA and everybody on a bicycle by being a responsible rider.
Plus, it turns out that being responsible out on the road isn’t particularly difficult or burdensome, and it will actually make you a better cyclist. But that’s not all!
It will also:
- Make you thinner – Stopping at red lights and stop signs burns more calories.
- Make you more attentive – Headphones and cell phones while cycling are a bad idea.
- Make you a role model – Other cyclists will emulate you, honest.
- Make your husband/wife/parents/children/girlfriend/boyfriend/boss happier – Because they won’t have to worry about you being irresponsible.
- Change drivers’ attitudes – Following the law makes you more predictable, which makes it easier for drivers to anticipate you, avoid you and go on their way without aggravation.
- Help the bicycle community – Like it or not, all cyclists are often tarred with the same brush, and lawbreaking cyclists make us all look bad.
- Help WABA – Bicycle-specific traffic laws may be out of reach for now (think: Idaho stop), but being able to say “look at all the cyclists out there following existing laws” would be a huge help!
Remember, click here to sign the Resolution to Ride Responsibly and click here to read our press release. We’ll be collecting signatures throughout January (for all you late resolution-makers), and to kick off the year in the responsible gear, we’re having a New Year’s Resolution Ride on Saturday, January 8th.