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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

PTS hosts bicycle safety class in preparation for Sun Link

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Arizona Daily Wildcat File Photo

Parking and Transportation Services is now hosting a class to teach cycling campus-goers the ins and outs of safe campus cycling.

The free weekly class, which includes a one-hour bike ride through campus and the surrounding areas, is intended to familiarize riders with cycling through the area, focusing on the streetcar tracks that were recently put in place, said Charles Franz, program coordinator for Parking and Transportation Services.

The first class was held on Sept. 4 with one person in attendance. The following week, eight people showed up, and this past Wednesday about 15 people attended. Franz said that classes like this take time to grow and develop, but that gradually the class will become more popular.

While attendance has been sparse, those who do attend have said the class is necessary.

Class attendee Kara Mills said her daughter was hit by a car while riding her bike to Tucson High School a few years ago and was too scared to ride to school again. After taking the class, Mills said, her daughter felt more confident.

“It was a great experience for both of us,” Mills said. “I highly recommend this class and plan to take others.”

While the class is open to the general public, students make up about 95 percent of each class. The Pima County Department of Transportation hopes to keep the class at a maximum of 12 people so the crowd isn’t too difficult for the instructor to handle.

For now, the same instructor runs the class each week, but over time new instructors will join to assist them. Each instructor is certified through the League of American Bicyclists, sponsored by Pima County, said Mike Zoll, the bicycle and pedestrian program manager for the Pima County Department of Transportation.

Every class begins with a safety check of each attendee’s bicycle, which includes checking air in the tires, the tires themselves and the brakes, Franz said.

The ride then starts at the bike station located on the south side of the UA Mall on Highland Avenue. The instructor leads the cyclists to the northeast corner of Main Gate Square, then the group travels west, going down Tyndall Avenue before making a left turn toward Fifth Street, and finally looping back to Second Street.

Throughout the bike route, instructors emphasize the streetcar tracks and demonstrate how to avoid them. A two-foot distance is kept between the bicyclist and the tracks.

“A lot of people are not used to riding along streets with tracks or may be new to biking,” Franz said. “The class offers riders valuable skills and tips on how to avoid falling when crossing streetcar tracks, riding close to cars and the dangers of riding on sidewalks.”

Zoll added that it’s important to ride defensively.

For more information or to sign up for the class, call (520) 243-BIKE.

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