GVSU to host traffic skills course for bicyclists

GVL / Emily Frye
Tuesday May 30, 2017.

Emily Frye

GVL / Emily Frye Tuesday May 30, 2017.

Tylee Bush

Grand Valley State University and the Greater Grand Rapids Bicycle Coalition (GGRBC) plan to partner up to provide an informative Traffic Skills 101 Smart Cycling session. This course is designed to help participants refresh their knowledge of the rules of the road, as well as increase their on-bike confidence.

The session will take place from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, June 2, in the GVSU Fieldhouse, with the specific room location to be determined. Participants will learn bicycling safety tips, maintenance tricks and how to correctly navigate difficult intersections.

Lindsey DesArmo, health and wellness manager at GVSU, said this is the first time GVSU has organized this event. It is a collaborative effort between GVSU Human Resources, GVSU Campus Recreation and the GGRBC.

“GVSU recently received the Silver Level Bicycle Friendly University designation by the League of American Bicyclists,” DesArmo said. “One area where there is room for improvement is the education component. We outreached to the Greater Grand Rapids Bicycle Coalition to conduct trainings on campus to help meet our goal of increasing knowledge, education and awareness on campus for students, faculty and staff.”

DesArmo is highly involved with coordinating this event, and she has a passion to “promote bicycling and the safety of all bicyclists on Michigan roadways.”

DesArmo is a recreational bicyclist and often commutes to work by bike. In addition, DesArmo volunteers for the Greater Grand Rapids Bicycle Coalition during Active Commute Week and serves on the Board Chair for the League of Michigan Bicyclists.

“Our vision is a Michigan where cycling is safe, comfortable and convenient for all,” DesArmo said.

The session is expected to be interactive in the classroom and will even involve some on-bike practice drills and a group bike ride. There is a limited number of seats, so interested participants must pre-register.

The human resources department plans to cover the cost for faculty and staff, so faculty and staff should contact Lindsey DesArmo at [email protected] to register. All others should register at www.gvsu.edu/sprout to reserve their spot.

The fee to attend is $12, payable online at the time of registration, and this covers the official League of American Bicyclists Smart Cycling Manual and all necessary test materials. Successfully passing the on-bike skills test as well as the in-class tests will earn participants a Smart Cycling Certificate, which is also the prerequisite to taking the League Certified Instructor Workshop (the date of which has yet to be determined).

Joe Bitely, assistant director of GVSU Campus Recreation, is also helping to organize this event. Bitely has been overseeing the outdoor adventure program at GVSU full-time for 10 years, and he has always had an interest in leisurely biking.

“I bike recreationally and enjoy commuting by bike as much as possible when the weather is nice,” said Bitely. “I also oversee the GVSU Bike Shop which offers used bike rentals & free self-service bike maintenance to the GVSU community.”

Bitely is not only a co-organizer of this event, but he is also a registered participant with high hopes of increasing his biking skills and expanding his biker knowledge.

“I am hoping to take away a greater sense of confidence by not just talking about what to expect in various situations when riding on the road but also practicing those situations on a bike and learning how to ride predictably and safely,” Bitely said.

Participants must be above the age of 16 to register, but the course is open to all levels of cycling experience, including advanced cyclists and those just beginning.

“Anyone who gets on two wheels is encouraged and welcome to attend,” said DesArmo. “It is for all levels, and it is open to the public.”

Attendees should be sure to bring along their bike; a helmet; lights, if they have them (if not, some will be provided); a water bottle; and a lunch (refrigerators will be available for cold lunch items).

There is a limited number of spots available, so those interested should claim a spot as soon as possible.