Effective road safety education

If only the Michigan Driver’s Test had a question on cycling driver’s might know to respect us…

Ah, right. We’ve heard this many times. Bicycle advocates even spent political capital trying unsuccessfully to get this put into state law.

We think it’s mostly a waste of time and here’s why. Most people learn driving habits at an early, impressionable age. Teenagers don’t show up for driver’s education with a blank state of mind. Chances are they’ve been in cars their entire lives and learned the basics of driving from observing others. A couple questions won’t change a

And that’s why it’s important to teach road skills early.

Some schools in Europe have classes for young students that teach safe cycling and walking skills on miniature road courses. Cleveland has something similar with their Safety City.

The Washington Area Bicyclist Association has a design for a very cool traffic garden as shown in the photo. Wouldn’t this be a neat training area around Detroit, perhaps located close to schools or parks or the Detroit RiverWalk? With the proper signs and designs, young cyclists and pedestrians could learn how to safely share our public road spaces through playing.

Through MTGA, we initiated some discussions on how to fund such infrastructure. Perhaps Safe Routes to School is the best fit.

Interestingly enough, it was also recently discussed at the Governor’s Traffic Safety Advisory Commission.

With all the bike lanes and sharrows being added to Detroit streets, one of more traffic gardens could be one means for improving public education on safely sharing our streets.


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