So here it is…the long awaited Rider Pledge. It’s gone through many iterations, with revision, reconsideration, and reconciliation. The Rider Pledge talks about the core missions of Axletree, and the ethic with which we try to approach all of our activities, whether they be an organized, competitive event or a friendly gathering.
This summer we’ve been hearing of far too many incidents of aggression and altercations between cyclists and drivers – and in many cases, the cyclists were at fault. Our goal with the pledge is to make riders more aware of their responsibility and get them to commit to being better examples for the cycling community. The only way to change the public opinion of cyclists is to be more courteous, responsible riders. The current modus operandi of flipping the bird for any offense great or small is just not cutting it, people. Let’s redirect.
This is a work in progress. We expect to live with it and revise it. We expect to improve it, just as we’ve improved many of the facets of Axletree over the past year. We hope to receive feedback from the community and make this a living document that grows with the organization. As that growth occurs, the core of this Pledge will remain.
There are some aspects of the Pledge that we believe to be incontrovertible. Be prepared—whether that mean tools, lights, or hydration. Wear a helmet. Ride predictably.
There are some aspects of the Pledge that we are still working on. The Pledge has a discussion about traffic laws. We’re believers in traffic laws, and in fact worked to update them in our home community of DeKalb. When in town, around traffic, we try to adhere to them, both because it improves rider safety and because we’re cognizant of perception issues caused by cyclists engaged in obvious violations of the law. But truth be told, do cyclists ever roll a stop sign? If a cyclist gets out on a country road, with good visibility in all directions and no traffic, is it inappropriate to slow down, get a really good look, and then continue through without a stop? For many, that’s a reality. So the Pledge either needs to reflect reality, or riders need to conform their riding to its requirements. As I said—we’re working on it.
As we work on making the Pledge better, we also work to honor it. We have upcoming events, like the Custard Cruise and the Corn Fest Family Bike Rally, where we will work to serve the community. We will continue to support events of that nature, and continue to improve the perception of cyclists, while we increase the availability of recreational cycling opportunities.
We’d like you to join us. Even if you can’t make it out for a ride, join us in the Pledge. Download it, read it, sign it, send it in or drop it off. Our goal in having a pledge is to say, “Look, there are many riders who are committed to riding responsibly. We are working towards a better community and here are the people helping us with that.” Will you help us?