New Haven Releases Smart Cycling Handbook
New Haven's "Smart Cycling Handbook" aims to ensure road safety for all commuters. Photo by CanWeBowlPlease.

New Haven's "Smart Cycling Handbook" aims to ensure road safety for all commuters. Photo by CanWeBowlPlease.

The City of New Haven, Conn. released a Smart Cycling Handbook in order to ensure road safety and traffic education for all commuters. This is a new effort by the city to become a bike-friendly community in light of a growing bicycle culture. The handbook is meant to provide guidelines to cyclists, who, according to the Mayor’s Message, have as many rights and obligations to the road as car drivers.

Inspired by New York City’s biking rules book, the Smart Cycling Handbook is a collaboration between the City of New Haven and local cycling advocates. According to Jim Travers, interim director of transportation, traffic and parking in New Haven, the handbook was the result of regular meetings with advocacy groups like Elm City Cycling, a nonprofit organization working to promote safer streets for cyclists and pedestrians.

“When we asked for community members to help put a biking book together, we received a tremendous amount of support,” Travers told TheCityFix in an email. “The City has an excellent relationship with the cycling community. What we have created in New Haven has been a clear result of the communication between both parties. It has been a partnership in the truest sense of the word.”

The handbook, in part, will serve the cycling community as an instructional set of guidelines, providing tips on bike maintenance, introducing parks and trails, illustrating proper ways to signal turns, and offering recommendations for equipment. The handbook will also reinforce rights of sharing road space to ensure safety, such as the “3-foot rule,” which requires motorists to provide cyclists three feet of space on either side of the road, and following “sharrows,” or arrows marking a multi-purpose road to indicate the right of cyclists to take up the entire lane.

Part of the Smart Cycling initiative includes a pledge that encourages cyclists to follow rules like avoiding sidewalks and using cell phone while cycling. Both efforts are a part of New Haven’s Street Smarts campaign, an attempt to educate and encourage the community to share the road safely and patiently.

Although the handbook is specific to New Haven and Connecticut when it comes to cycling laws and trail maps, guidelines regarding cyclists’ responsibilities and bike maintenance can be applied to other cities. Cycling handbooks have already been created for cities like Toronto and New York City. And there are several national and international guidelines and best practices developed by organizations like the National Association for City Transportation Officials, GIZ and the Interface for Cycling Expertise, and the Victoria Transport Policy Institute.

To learn more about New Haven’s Smart Cycling Handbook, download the document here.

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