Focus on Safe Cycling

The Safe cycling course will teach students, faculty and staff how to ride bicycles safely in traffic.

 

By Daylina Miller

USF.edu News Writer

 

TAMPA, Fla. (Nov. 15, 2010) – On Wednesday, Dec. 1, Tampa Bay Cycle and Penn’s Cycling School are sponsoring a “Safe Cycling Commuter Skills Course” at USF.

 

This course is normally presented in the spring because March is Florida’s Bike Month and May is National Bike Month, but extra courses are being held in light of recent bicycle fatalities, such as USF researcher and postdoctoral student Kayoko Ishizuka, who was killed in September when her bike was struck by an alleged drunk driver.

 

Julie Bond, the manager of Tampa Bay Cycles and co-director of New North Transportation Alliance, said that “we did decide to hold extra courses because of so many bicycle accidents and fatalities recently. We wanted to react to what’s going on.”

 

The course is being held Dec. 1 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., which includes an hour of classroom instruction and an optional 30-minute ride following the presentation. Participants will meet in the Marshall Student Center in Room 3704 to learn basic safety skills and Florida bike laws.

 

An earlier course was held on Nov. 17.

 

“We hope that participants will learn basic bicycle commuting skills - how to ride in traffic safely, basic Florida laws and helmet use,” Bond said. “We hope they come out of the course knowing how to ride safely and perform safety checks on their bikes.”

 

The cost of the course is free, including lunch, but preregistration is required and spaces are limited. All riders must have an approved helmet and two-wheeled bike in good working order.

 

Although Ishizuka was an experienced bicyclist, traveling in the bicycle lane, wearing a helmet and had flashing warning light on her bike, many bicyclists are unaware of basic laws, including that bikes ridden at night must be equipped with front and back lights and cyclists must ride with the flow of traffic, not against.

 

“People aren't really required to learn rules and regulations before they're allowed to bike, like getting a license to drive a car,” said biomedical sciences major Kevin Ratnasamy.

 

Ratnasamy also feels that the cycle course will benefit pedestrians who sometimes feel like they are being mowed over by fast moving bikes on the sidewalks around campus.

 

“This will be beneficial to anyone who commutes around, on, or near campus,” Ratnasamy said. “It's important for cyclists to feel safe on the road, but it's also important for pedestrians to feel safe on the sidewalks, especially on campus. Both pedestrians and cyclists should be more aware of their surroundings. I feel like a course like this will push cyclists to set the example.

 

To register, contact Jessica Brenner (813) 974‐9215 or jlbrenne@cutr.usf.edu

 

Daylina Miller covers student activities and trends. She can be reached at 813-500-8754.