On December 10th, Bike/Walk Tampa Bay (BWTB) hosted the final Traffic Skills 101 course of 2016 at the Center for Urban Transportation Research (CUTR) on the University of South Florida’s Tampa campus. The course is taught by League Cycling Instructors (LCIs) and is a prerequisite for becoming an LCI, but is just as important for any bicyclist who wants to be safe and knowledgeable on Tampa roadways. “Everyone should take the course,” says Julie Bond, Senior Research Associate at CUTR and BWTB Program Director. “Everyone who rides a bike or wants to ride a bike should learn these basic skills.”
Traffic Skills 101 teaches bicyclists how to navigate local roadways confidently and safely because they learn how to maneuver around dangerous objects and make emergency stops. Bicyclists also learn to scan the road and signal to other vehicles so their movements are predictable, and learn to ensure that their bicycles are working safely by checking their tires, brakes, and bike chain before departing (an “ABC Quick Check”). Bicyclists also learn how to change a tire so they are prepared for the occasional flat.
At the end of the day, bicyclists are required to complete a seven-mile road ride to demonstrate their skills. “The hands-on part gave me more confidence riding in traffic,” says Austin Gibble, a Graduate Research Assistant at USF and recent Traffic Skills 101 graduate. “I learned how to position myself in the roadway to make myself visible. When you know you’re riding in the road correctly it really helps you feel safe.”