Cycling series teaches students bike safety and rules

As part of Earth Week, a free CyclingSavvy course was offered to students Monday night at the Activities and Recreation Center and was sponsored by Champaign County Bikes and Students for Environmental Concerns. The course is part of a three-session series.

Gary Cziko, a retired University professor and organizer of the event, said he hosted the course because of his interest in cycling.

“Bicycing for me has so many good qualities to it, but people are often fearful to ride because they are afraid of the traffic, so we are trying to show them that traffic is nothing to worry about if they know what they are doing,” he said.

The three-hour course, “Truth and Techniques of Traffic Cycling,” provided students with rules of the road, bicycle safety and traffic cycling problem solving.

“We (also) have on-bike parts (of the educational series) that deal with being able to control your bicycle and actually getting out into the traffic and going through various situations,” Cziko said. “It’s to be able to use a bicycle safely for transportation wherever you want to go.”

The event was intended to teach students that cyclists have control and are equals on the road.

Daniel Guico, junior in ACES, said after he got a new bike, he was unsure of the rules and how to interact with cars on the road until he attended the course where he said he learned some “typical safety precautions.”

“A lot of things I wouldn’t have thought of, especially going in the center of the (road) for intersections,” he said. “This is kind of eye-opening.”

Cziko focused on two basic ideas during the course that are important for bicycle safety: to be visible and predictable to other drivers on the road.

Kelly Payne, junior in AHS, said she is excited about the event because she recently fixed her bike, but she also wants to be safe on the road.

“I don’t want to put myself in danger or other people in danger on the road,” Payne said.

Cziko said he loves cycling and wants other people to do it because it has a lot of added benefits.

“This is Earth Week. It’s a very sustainable form of transportation. It’s exercise. It enhances the community. It’s not noisy; (it requires) less gasoline.” he said. “There is an ecological reason, an economic reason. It’s less expensive. You are not paying all your money for the oil. There are also house reasons and community reasons.”

The follow-up session for the course will be held May 5 from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. at a location to be announced in Champaign-Urbana.