This is the course that Vancouver City Council and the Bicycle Associationof British Columbia (BABC) wanted to require couriers to complete. It isalmost identical to the CanBike II course which is a three day course forall cyclcists and costs $75 in 1997. The BABC shortened the course to oneday and wanted to charge couriers $50 in 1988. (I would bet the 3 day coursecost no more than $50 in 1988. So why the rip off the couriers?)



Course Particulars

Course Fee:$50.00 Course Length: 8 hours Instructor Qualification: CCACertified Can-Bike II Instructor (see AppendixC)


Traffic Skills for Couriers is designed for commercial cyclists operatinga bicycle under heavy traffic conditions.

Students who enter this course should have sufficient cycling experienceto be able to ride confidently in downtown traffic. The objective of TrafficSkills for Couriers is to teach specific skills which will enable couriersto use their bikes more safely and efficiently. The course also focuseson the vehicular philosophy of bicycling end emphasizes the rights andresponsibilities of cyclists.

The content of Traffic Skills for Couriers covers the following subjectareas;

1) Registration

2) Course Description

3) Film-Bicycling Safely on the Road

4) Vehicular Philosophy

5) Presentation by Police Department

6) Parking Lot Emergency Maneuvers

7) On-road

Detailed Course Outline

The following is a course outline. which is a modified version of theCCA Can-Bike Skills II manual.

1) Registration

Students will register for the course through the Bicycling Associationof B.C., and will be required to fill out a registration card with name,address, and phone number. Students will also be required to fill out theattached liability release form.

2) Course Description

The instructor will briefly discuss the course objective and hand outthe course outline. Purchase of the text Effective Cycling' by John Foresterwill be recommended but not mandatory.

3) Film - Bicycling Safely on the Road

Show approximately the first twenty minutes (the first two of threeparts). This covers traffic cycling principles and emergency maneuvers.

4) Vehicular Philosophy

The instructor will emphasize that:

1) There are two classes of road users - drivers and pedestrians. Cyclistscan be both but not at the same time, i.e. cyclists cannot ride on thesidewalk or on crosswalks.

2) All road users must obey the same rules. Cyclists should considerthemselves to be vehicle drivers.

The instructor will introduce the five basic traffic cycling principlesand emphasize that cyclists who understand and ride according to theseprinciples will be able to ride safely in any type of traffic.

All drivers, regardless of the type of vehicle they drive, follow thesame basic traffic principles. The size and speed of your vehicle may influencehow you apply these principles, but the reason is the same. to reduce conflictsbetween road users.

Understanding the following basic traffic principles will enable cycliststo ride safely in traffic.

1) Ride on the right side of the roadway; not on the left, and not onthe sidewalk. Cyclists who ride facing traffic are more vulnerable, becauseother drivers do not expect wrong-way traffic. Sidewalk riding is alsovery hazardous because each driveway or laneway becomes, in effect, anintersection.

2) How and when to yield to crossing traffic. Yielding means decidingif you must yield and, if so, waiting until it is safe to go. There aretwo basic rules for drivers who meet at intersections: (a) the driver onthe minor street or lane yields to the driver on the main street; and (b)at an uncontrolled intersection, the driver who arrives last yields, or,If the drivers arrive simultaneously, the one on the left yields.

3) How and when to yield to same-direction traffic. Every driver whowants to move into a new line of travel must yield to traffic already inthat lane. Before moving sideways on the road you must look behind to checkthat it is safe to do so (shoulder check),

4) Destination positioning at intersections depends on your intendeddirection beyond the intersection. At a simple intersection, start a leftturn from near the centre line, and a right turn from curb. At a multiple-laneintersection, choose the right-most that serves your destination.

5) Positioning between intersections (mid block) depends basically yourspeed relative to the rest of the traffic, and also on the usable widthof the road. On a lane that is too narrow to share safely, ride in themiddle. On a wide lane, if you are the slower vehicle, ride to the right;if you are the faster vehicle, pass on left squeeze between moving carsand the curb.

There are, of course, many other skills, including the emergency maneuverstaught in the complete CAN-BIKE Skills II course, which students shouldlearn and practice. The five principles outlined above represent the coreknowledge every cyclist must learn.

5) Presentation by Police Department

A) Discussion of the types of complaints received from private citizensand the reasons for these complaints

B) Existing rules and regulations governing cyclists:

(i) Provincial Motor Vehicle Act, (ii} City By-laws.

6) Parking Lot Emergency Maneuvers

The instctor will introduce students to the three most commonly usedemergency maneuvers required for accident avoidance.


The instructor will place a brightly-coloured rag on the ground andhave students ride fast towards it, in a single line with plenty of spacebetween riders, and dodge around it. Students will dodge both right andleft. The instructor stands near the rag to observe each student and offerpraise and comments. Students are encouraged to wait until the last possibleinstant before making a very quick swerve and recovery around the rag.This maneuvre is essential in the avoidance of small roadside hazards suchas rocks, sand, etc


The instructor will discuss the bicycle's natural ability to steer andwill demonstrate how leaning steers the bike. Emphasize that emergencya cyclist needs to turn his/her bike more quickly Turning the wheel suddenlyforces a lean in the opposite direction (the direction you want to go).Quickly steering into the direction of the lean results in an instant turn.

Students will ride a slalom course to build confidence both right andleft instant turns around the rag,

When students demonstrate consistent proficiency the instructor will,without any advance warning, point in the direction they must turn. Theemphasis is an learning to react immediately, instinctively. In a realemergency on the street there is no time to think.


The instructor will emphasize:

1) As the cyclist applies the brakes the weight shifts from the rearof the bike to the front which results in more braking power on the frontwheel.

2) In a panic stop, the cyclist must apply the rear brake gently, whileapplying the front brake about 2-3 times as hard. If the rear wheel skidsease off on the FRONT brake.

Panic stopping teaches the cyclist to stop the bike as quickly as possible.

7. On Road Traffic Maneuvers


The Instructor will start by leading the group at a comfortable paceand then drop back to watch them individually. The instructor will noteany obvious deficiencies and make positive suggestions for improvement.

For safe and comfortable group riding, the instructor will emphasize:

1) Don't run lights or stop signs to keep up with the group regrouplater.

2) Always pass on the left and call out, on your left.

3) Keep at least one wheel diameter behind the wheel in front don'toverlap wheels.

4) Always call out hazards and point at them if possible.

5) Smooth pedalling at 70 - 90 rpm or higher.

6) Proper use of gears, eg. shifting down before a hill.


The instructor will emphasize:

1) The five basic traffic cycling principles.

2) Riding in a straight line a safe distance away from the curb to bemore visible and avoid road- side hazards.

3) Keeping a safe distance away from parked cars and looking for signsthat a parked car may pull out.

4) Shoulder checking before changing direction (a mirror doesn't replaceshoulder checking).

5) Communicating with other road users. Cyclists must signal their intentionsto other drivers who may be affected

When the class stops to regroup, the instructor will discuss any errors,and identify skills that need more practice.


The instructor will emphasize:

1) Most provincial and municipal traffic acts, require the cyclist toride "as far to the right as practicable." This should be interpretedto mean as far to the right as is safe."

The cyclist's first priority must be his/her own safety and then theConvenience of other vehicle operators.

3) There are two widths of road - wide and narrow. Explain the "CYCLIST'SLANE WIDTH RULE (ECG. p. 178).

4) Cyclists‘ lane selection and lane position at intersections dependson their intended direction after the intersection. Single destinationlanes.

5) Road position also depends on the cyclist's speed relative to othertraffic.


The instructor will emphasize:

1) Cyclists must always plan and start lane changes well in advance.

2) Shoulder check and signal.

3) If necessary, negotiate with the motorist behind you.

4) The instructor will explain the three ways to change lanes dependingon the differential speed of traffic: Slow speed traffic going same speedor slower; medium speed - traffic up to 25km/hr faster; fast speed - morethan 25km/hr faster (freeways).

5) If all else fails, cyclists can dismount and walk through intersections.

Final ride on minor arterials. Choose a route that contains:

a) Wide and narrow roads.

8) Straight through, right and left turns at multi-lane intersections.

C) Changing lanes. Demonstrate and have students practice negotiatingwith motorists to change lanes.

If the class demonstrates competency quickly move on to busier streets.

The instructor will choose multi-lane roads practicing merges. diverges,unions, and separations. Bridge on and off ramps will be a good place topractice these.

Appendix B - Bicycle Courier Examination

Appendix C - Instructor Certification Process

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