Sudbury offers cycling courses to help cut down on collisions

The City of Greater Sudbury is making an effort to improve bike safety by offering cycling courses in a city where cyclists say poor roads are to blame for many of their safety concerns.
Rachelle Niemela, who is chair of the Sudbury cyclists' union, says she doesn't want to give up the work she's doing to focus on running for municipal office. (Olivia Stefanovich/CBC )

The City of Greater Sudbury is making an effort to improve bike safety by offering cycling courses in a city where cyclists say poor roads are to blame for many of their safety concerns.

Sudbury cyclist Rachelle Niemela says she's had a number of close calls with motorists who have forced her off the road.

She says the city's lack of bike infrastructure makes it difficult for cyclists to manoeuvre in traffic, but she's also seen many cyclists ignore rules.

"It's lack of knowledge. And cyclists have to take responsibility for their own safety,” she said.

Niemela is an instructor for the City of Greater Sudbury's new cycling courses.

The city recently took over the cycling courses from Rainbow Routes. The classes offer instruction for beginner and advanced bike riders.

Sudbury Police Constable Brad Purvis said he thinks the city run program will help improve road safety.

"Basically, if you're driving a bike, you're driving a vehicle … and you need to treat it as such."

Greater Sudbury Police report the number of cycling collisions has decreased over the past few years. Last year there were 11 fewer crashes than the year before.

To keep that number down, Niemela says she hopes her classes will teach cyclists to lead by example and follow proper bike etiquette.

The city is also offering courses geared toward children who are learning how to bike without training wheels, as well as mature riders who want to improve their skills.

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