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Putting Bicycle Education At the Center of Being a BFB
In early June, the League honored 33 new and renewing Bicycle Friendly Businesses building safer streets and contributing positively to their local communities through encouraging and promoting the joys of biking. One of our BFB awardees, Knabe Law Firm, L.P.A. of Lakewood, Ohio -- one of only two Ohio law firms designated by the League as a Silver-level Bicycle Friendly Business -- is using its commitment to safety to support local advocates in improving community bicycle education.
Ohio ranked 18th overall in our 2019 Bicycle Friendly State rankings and 23rd in bicycle education and encouragement. The League’s feedback for improvement advised Ohio state leadership to “undertake a multi-agency effort to coordinate safety messaging related to bicycling.” Ohio passed laws the League endorses, such as a passing law and a “dead red” law, and as laws change it’s important for states to promote them so people who are biking are safer. Our Ohio state report card noted the Your Move Ohio effort as a good starting place for driver and vulnerable road user education.
Education is at the center of being a BFB for Knabe Law Firm, L.P.A., and as a civil trial lawyer who spends a lot of his time representing cyclists and others on the road wronged by unsafe drivers, Kenneth Knabe believes bridging gaps in motorist/driver education is crucial to protect those sharing the road as co-equal users.
“Cycling knowledge equals power AND protection in our modern, evolving cycling world,” said Knabe. One of his main goals is to help motorists better understand cyclists’ collective behavior. Knowing how to safely share the road will be crucial as the growing number of people biking meet more drivers back on the road. “Thanks to the pandemic, it is no longer ‘cycling as usual’” – early 2020 saw the beginning of a bike boom that is still going strong in 2021.
In September 2020, Kabe wrote and published a book titled Cycling Rights: Bicycles, E-Bikes & Micro-Mobility Devices to help people biking in Ohio (and driving!) better understand their rights and responsibilities. The book provides legal and practical advice for safe biking, reviews Ohio cycling case law via actual court cases and their widely varying situations and results, and includes a chapter to help motorists better understand why a person biking behaves the way they do.
Supporting local advocacy is important not just to Knabe personally but to ensure his firm rates well as a Bicycle Friendly Business. All profits from sales of the Cycling Rights book go to local bike shops and local cycling advocacy organizations like Bike Cleveland, which the firm also supports through a corporate sponsorship.
When local organizations and BFBs support one another the impact can be exponential. Recognizing this, Bike Cleveland offers education programs to businesses looking to become more welcoming to people who bike and more active in local advocacy, as well as bike education resources for schools and community residents.
Knabe’s advice for other small businesses thinking about catering to people who bike is to start by installing bike racks on their properties and even add a custom rack highlighting local organizations like Bike Cleveland.
As for Knabe’s own plans to improve his firm’s Bicycle Friendly Business award in the next round, he says, “I will continue pursuing bike education, sponsorships, and community support for bike infrastructure, continue my work with Vision Zero Cleveland…and reward my own team with the incentive of riding their bikes to work for a monthly free lunch!” Hopefully we’ll see them as a Gold-level BFB in their next go-around!
If you’d like to learn more about Knabe’s efforts or chat with Ken, he can be reached through the firm’s website Knabe Law Firm Co., LPA. To learn more about becoming a Bicycle Friendly Business, visit https://bikeleague.org/business. To see your own business receive recognition from the League, the next BFB application deadline is October 5, 2021.