University of South Florida (USF) students enrolled in the Sustainable Transportation course are learning ways to get around that are better for the environment, such as walking, transit, and bicycling. When it came to the bicycling component of the course, the professor did more than just talk about it in the classroom.
“Having led study abroad courses in the Netherlands that included many student cycling tours, I have learned the value of ‘hands on’ experience with bicycles,” says Dr. Robert Bertini, who teaches the course and is also the Director of the Center for Urban Transportation Research (CUTR). “I wanted to bring that to our Sustainable Transportation course here at USF.”
Students first participated in an in-class BikeSmart presentation, where they learned about the Florida bicycling laws, basic pre-ride preparation tips, and resources available on USF’s Campus. The following week, they got some hands-on experience. CUTR staff Lucy Gonzalez Barr and Brentin Mosher, both certified League Cycling Instructors along with Dr. Bertini, took them through some parking lot drills such as how to scan for traffic, how to turn smoothly, how to dodge a rock in the road, and how to make an emergency stop.
After the drills, the students put their newly learned skills to use as they rode around campus, riding on roads with and without bike lanes, navigating through stop signs and traffic signals, and even how to go through a roundabout.
“It was a great experience for me to participate in this cycling session,” says Ali Shamansouri, a student in the class. “This class is unlike any other class that we had so far, it helps us to learn sustainability by practice rather than memorization. This cycling session was absolutely helpful to learn sustainability in transportation. “