"The distance to the parked cars on the roadside is very important," explains Árva at the beginning of the training. Wrong positioning on the road is one of the biggest risks for cyclists, and an opening car door is a constant threat of serious injury. "I'll show that for a minute," he says, and cycles off. With his bright yellow safety vest he is clearly visible to drivers and they automatically slow down.

Árva shows how to use bicycle lanes safely and how to give hand signals properly. He comes back and asks if anyone has any questions. Afterwards, it's the turn of the participants. An important safety measure before starting out is to check that shoe laces and clothing won’t be caught in the spokes or pedals.

After their session, participants are given feedback on their style. It is apparent that Árva takes his role seriously.

The desire for a cycling school came to him a decade ago. "At the time I was already cycling in Budapest about two hours every day,” he says. Nothing happened until three years ago when he learned that a friend conducted bicycle safety training in London.

He started talking with her about the concept then went to Belgium and England to train as a cycling safety instructor. Finally, in February 2018, his website Velo Budapest went online. The name was chosen as being internationally understandable. About two months later, the first courses started.

To realise his dream, Árva quit his previous job working for international companies. The number of learners depends on the season, and he speaks Hungarian, English and Swedish.

His trainings are based on the three-phase bicycle safety model of the United Kingdom, adapted to the conditions in Budapest.

Thus his charges progress from places far away from busy roads to roads with a very limited number of vehicles and then to the busy streets of the city. Theory is taught as well as practice.

By building up from quiet roads to crowded ones, Árva works on cyclists’ insecurity. "With little self-confidence you automatically drive worse," he knows.

See http://velobudapest.hu/


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