Monday, February 11, 2008

Yield to Life: A Great Initiative from the Pro Peleton

Dave Zabriskie at the 2006 US Pro time trial championship in Greensville, SC
(Photo by Frank Steele)

Whenever I go ride a time trial I spend a lot of time trying to get as aerodynamic as possible. I really really really want to look as smooth as Dave Zabriskie, an American formerly with Team CSC. In 2005 he won the initial time trial at the Tour de France at an average speed of over 54 km/h. I believe that this is the fastest individual time trial ever clocked at the Tour.

Since then Dave has had a bit of an up-and-down career and is now with Team Slipstream Chipotle and everyone is hoping for big things in Europe this year. But I just wanted to point out that Dave is unusual for a pro cyclist in that he has set up an organization promoting traffic safety in the United States, Yield to Life.

He has apparently been hit by cars three times and this alone is probably a good reason to promote better driving--and cycling. This small non-profit organization has as its aims:
Yield to Life’s Mission

Yield to Life will engage in a vigorous awareness campaign to promote positive attitudes toward cyclists and replace any hostility that exists between motorists and cyclists with understanding, respect, and appreciation for all life on the road. Safety for every cyclist is the top priority of Yield to Life.

Cycling is a healthy, life-affirming, environmentally-sound activity that adds value to anyone’s life. Since cyclists' lives are often in motorists’ hands, motorists must understand the vital role they play in a cyclist's safety.

Yield to Life will concentrate on road-rule education programs for motorists and cyclists alike through driver's education programs, public awareness movements and media campaigns in order to ensure a safer and more harmonious environment for all those on the road.

Yield to Life will engage in a hands-on educational program with target audiences that range from school assemblies to corporate conventions. Workshops will be created to arm cyclists with tips for navigating through traffic and tools for riding in a safe and responsible manner. Yield to Life will work on a database for cyclists to find the best, the safest and the most accommodating roads for commuting and for recreation.

On the website, Dave mentions that although he has ridden his bike all over the world, it is only in the United States where he has been hit by cars. The regrettable trend towards increasingly poor driving skills was featured in a recent issue of Bicycling magazine: disturbing.

I think Dave's initiative is excellent and let us hope that it will mean fewer death and injury on the road in the years ahead.

And for those of you not buried in swow: ride safely!

1 comment:

Will said...

Sounds like a good cause and good for him for "giving back"

As I keep saying, I am glad not to have to ride in North America where the anti bike culture among drivers seems scarily strong