“C-U Sharing the Road” explains new biking infrastructure, road safety

Families and bicycle enthusiasts gathered at The Art Theater, 126 W. Church St., in Champaign, for the premiere of the video, “C-U Sharing the Road.”

Taking a different approach to bike safety, this nearly year-long project was finally unveiled to the Champaign-Urbana community.

The video was the brainchild of Jason Liggett, Parkland College graduate and production coordinator for Urbana Public Television. Liggett said Urbana and Champaign representatives came up to him with the idea for a bike safety video. He added that all those long nights and hours balancing his job and producing the bike safety video paid off months later.

“Although bicycling is large in this community, not many people know the laws and infrastructure behind bicycling,” he said. “That was the message we wanted to communicate, and I think the video communicates that well.”

This project was a joint venture between Urbana and Champaign. Other sponsors included the Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District, or CUMTD, C-U Safe Routes, Champaign County Bikes and the University.

Jennifer Selby, civil engineer for the city of Urbana, said the video is meant to answer questions about some of the recent infrastructure additions to the two cities’ streets.

“We were getting a lot of questions from motorists and cyclists, and even from the police departments, about what everything meant, how to share the road and what they were supposed to do with these different kinds of facilities,” she said. “So we wanted something locally produced, and we wanted to inform the public.”

The video was a lengthy project, she added. Early planning started in January, filming began in June and the completion of the script followed soon after.

The premiere was supposed to be on the Quad in early September, but inclement weather pushed the screening indoors, said Jan Kijowski, marketing director of CUMTD.

But some audience members said they did not mind where the video was premiering. Jeff Marino, Urbana resident, brought his family to watch the video. He said it was important for his kids and everyone else to learn more about bike safety. He also added that although there are people who take bicycling and other modes of transportation for granted, Urbana and Champaign offer safe travelling for all kinds of traffic.

“In the summers, I try to commute to work (by bicycle),” he said. “There’s one trail from my home in Urbana all the way to downtown Champaign. I just hop on and don’t have to worry about a lot of car interaction.”