Who knew that March is Women’s Bike History Month? I discovered this while comparing Florida’s Bike Month to the May Bike Month by The League of American Bicyclists, established in 1880.
So, I’ll combine some of the history of the contribution of women along with come bicycle safety tips.
In 1896, Susan B. Anthony — one of the most important leaders in the women’s suffrage movement — shared her perspective on bicycling with intrepid reporter, Nellie Bly. “Let me tell you what I think of bicycling,” she said. “I think it has done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world. It gives women a feeling of freedom and self-reliance. I stand and rejoice every time I see a woman ride by on a wheel… the picture of free, untrammeled womanhood.” https://bikeleague.org/content/march-womens-bike-history-month
I never realized this. According to the Bike League article, Anthony wasn’t alone. The article mentioned her friend, and fellow suffragette, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, wrote an entire article for the American Wheelman praising the bicycle for encouraging the building of “good roads,” and increasing people’s mobility. It states, most importantly, though: “The bicycle will inspire women with more courage, self-respect and self-reliance, and make the next generation more vigorous of mind and body; for feeble mothers do not produce great statesmen, scientists and scholars.”
Well, I’m not certain about the latter part of the statement but maybe that was a challenge enough to encourage women to begin expanding their horizons with confidence. Could it have been simply a bicycle that helped trigger this progress?
So, when is bicycle month? The Bike League focuses on May. https://bikeleague.org/bikemonth
Florida has the emphasis in March. so I’ll concentrate on that. Do other states and countries have various months to reinforce bicycle safety?
I can see why Florida chose to emphasize bicycle usage in March – for health and safety. The weather warms and many are already out on the roads with these two-wheelers, and sometimes one or three-wheelers. https://floridabicycle.org/march-is-florida-bike-month
So, as you warm up and exercise on your bike that has been sitting around for the winter, let’s highlight a few safety pointers. First, give your bike a safety inspection and make sure it is operating properly, including lights.
I realize each state and country has its own special rules and laws so I’ll just stick to a few things to consider. Consult your own local laws where you ride – and when we travel to other locations. Let’s not assume our knowledge is sufficient for where we ride. Check before your ride!
Florida is a great place to ride your bike. If you are driving in Florida, please be aware of cyclists. Cyclists need to be aware of vehicle drivers as well. Let’s have mutual respect and protection.
Florida Department of Transportation’s Alert Today Florida program has key information, and posted the proclamation from Florida’s Governor Ron DeSantis, for March Bicycle Month. https://www.alerttodayflorida.com/ Florida knows the importance of doing everything possible to make roadways safer for all users.
I enjoyed making presentations to teens and adults alike to encourage vehicle, bike and pedestrian safety. I had fun re-enacting Larry, the crash test mannequin (which I changed to Larry the Smarty since he now buckles up, rides safely and walks safely.
Here are some simple tips to remember:
– A bicycle in Florida is a legal vehicle on roadways. Don’t assume though that people see you or know the law. Better to be safe.
– Cyclists on roadways fare best when they act, and are treated as vehicles.
– Bicyclists may ride on sidewalks as well but must yield to pedestrians and provide an audible signal while approaching them.
– Some local laws may not permit a bicyclist to ride on the sidewalk, so check before you ride.
– Ride in the same direction as the traffic since the bike is an authorized road vehicle.
– If a designated bike lane is in the roadway, some local laws require bicyclists to use it instead of the sidewalk. That may not be safe for children though.
– If you see an image of a bicycle on the roadway, called a sharrow, it means a bicyclist should be expected to be in the roadway. These are often alternatives to designated bike lanes when there is insufficient space to build the separate lanes.
There is so much more to reinforce for bicycle safety so please check out Alert Today Florida as well as https://floridabicycle.org/drive-your-bike.
Blessings along the Way!