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First Bike COS Ride Leader Training June 2020

Bike Colorado Springs (BCS) offered its first Ride Leader Training session of the year on June 26th and 27th. The organization now has had two “firsts” since the pandemic started. Following cues from Bicycle Colorado, considered BCS’ state level sister organization, BCS has also taken its educational offerings virtual. “We are not as sophisticated as Bicycle Colorado yet, but they have shared some helpful hints and set the bar high for us to emulate,” states Joan Stang, volunteer education chair for the organization. Most importantly, BCS is making strides to keep its educational message alive in the form of Bike Friendly Driver, Auto-Friendly Bicyclist, and now Ride Leader Training. “It is really about building community and working together to make our roadways safer for vulnerable users and ultimately everyone,” says Joan.

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Do you know all you need to feel comfortable and safely ride a bike with traffic? Do you feel you know enough to teach your children how to ride cautiously and conspicuously while on their own? When you drive a car, are you confident on how to share the road with people on bikes?

The first virtual Auto-Friendly Bicyclist class was presented back in May to Nicole Odell’s Team NEO taught by Karl Stang. More recent, Ride Leader Training was offered to a select handful of individuals co-taught by Sara Hill and Allen Beauchamp, both League of American Bicyclists (LAB) certified instructors. “We wanted to keep it small to try out the Zoom-based platform first with a small in-person session,” says Allen. On Friday June 26th, six attendees sat in on a 90-minute virtual class and completed the first step towards understanding what it means to become a bike Ride Leader.

The following morning, the group met for a three hour long in-person session at the TOSC Sustainacenter. Wearing masks and keeping social distanced, the group set out to ride a small loop of the downtown Colorado Springs corridor to take turns practicing what it is like to safely navigate a group of bicyclists through town. Both Sara Hill and Allen Beauchamp selected the route that included a on trail passage through part of the Legacy Loop (an approximately ten mile loop of both off and on-street infrastructure in and around downtown Colorado Springs) in the Shooks Run neighborhood, and on street riding buffered bike lanes along Cascade Avenue and parking protected bike lanes on Pikes Peak Avenue. Allen specifically included negotiating the Pikes Peak protected bike lanes section since he personally knew a bicyclist who was hit at one of these intersections while riding home from work back in 2019. Both user groups, i.e. motorists and bicyclists, must look for each other in mixing zones such as intersections, driveways, and areas where drivers may be setting up for a righthand turn. And if that is not enough, add pedestrians who are walking with strollers or jogging. “We all have to look out for one another and slow down to create a safer road environment,” asserts Karl Stang, also a League Certified Instructor.

BCS looks forward to scheduling more classes and sharing knowledge about how to avoid common crashes with individuals and organizations of all types. If interested, please visit Bicyclist and Driver Training for  more information and to sign up for a class.

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