Want to Be a Better Bicyclist? First, Learn to Fall

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Want to Be a Better Bicyclist? First, Learn to Fall

New workshops aimed at women let cyclists practice a spill.

Before getting on a bike, you should know how to fall off. (Photo by FaceMePLS via Flickr)

Planners and policymakers can do a lot to make cyclists feel safer on the road: Build more protected bike lanes. Maybe even do away with the sharrow. But one thing cyclists have to overcome on their own? Fear of falling.

That’s why Portland’s Bicycle Transportation Alliance (BTA) is planning a workshop to teach women “how to hurt themselves less when they take flight from their bike,” Program Manager Nicole Davenport told news site BikePortland.org.

“Falling off my bike is one of my own largest fears while riding,” Davenport said. “When it comes to urban riding … I do get nervous about flying over my handlebars and breaking a wrist, clavicle or my face when I hit the pavement.”

Davenport was inspired to host the workshop after learning of a similar one at WE Bike NYC, a group that encourages more women and female-identified people to cycle in New York City through training, education and social rides.

WE Bike NYC held a falling clinic last week, in which participants learned about injury prevention and practiced falling on crash mats — with helmets on, of course.

The Portland workshop will also be open just to women, but only because Davenport manages the BTA women bike program, not because men couldn’t benefit from the training too.

Jen Kinney is a freelance writer and documentary photographer. Her work has also appeared in Philadelphia Magazine, High Country News online, and the Anchorage Press. She is currently a student of radio production at the Salt Institute of Documentary Studies. See her work at jakinney.com.

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Tags: bikingbike safety

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