Bike Austin is offering free cycling classes to the public starting next week, thanks to a new partnership with the Texas Department of Transportation.
Preston Tyree, an instructor at Bike Austin, says the classes emphasize that cyclists should follow the same rules as drivers.
“We have to stop at stop signs. We have to stop at stop lights. We have to signal. It’s all the same,” he says.
Austin has about 7,000 bike commuters. Each year, around 300 bicyclists end up in accidents with cars.
Tyree says he also sees many cyclists on the sidewalk, which is not advised and even illegal in some areas of Austin.
“That’s one of the most dangerous things you can do, because every time you come off the sidewalk and into traffic, you appear in front of a driver,” he says.
Jorge Dewey, an experienced cyclist, took a class at Bike Austin and says he learned a few things.
“I just went out there and I started biking. I didn’t know as a cyclist you are supposed to obey the law as a vehicle would,” he says.
The classes go over what hand gestures cyclists should use, when a cyclist can take over a lane and other ways to ensure safety on the road.
The first class will be held at UT- Austin on Jan. 23. Other classes will be offered around Austin, including a couple in Spanish. For more information, visit the Bike Austin website.