Bicycle Ambassador Program
Cyclists are one of the most vulnerable road user groups. While just 4% of reported traffic crashes in Fort Collins involve a person on a bike, nearly one quarter (24%) of all crashes that result in serious injury or death involve a person on a bike.
Who is at fault in these cases? It is about 50/50 – half the time it is the fault of the person riding the bike and half the time it is the fault of the person driving the motor vehicle.
Through the FC Bikes Bicycle Ambassador Program we have a myriad of offerings to teach people on bikes how to navigate the roads legally and safely, but the overall safety picture isn’t complete without also teaching people who drive motor vehicles how to do the same when people on bikes are present.
That is why FC Bikes, in collaboration with Bike Fort Collins, developed the county’s first Bicycle Friendly Driver program, a course designed to teach people who drive motor vehicles how to share the road safely with people on bikes.
In this 1.5 hour class Bicycle Ambassadors talk about scenarios that motorists may encounter with people on bikes and to teach them the safest and best ways to navigate each situation. At the conclusion of the course people who pass the exam and sign the Bicycle Friendly Driver pledge become certified as Bicycle Friendly Drivers. This distinction can be displayed on a motor vehicle with a Bicycle Friendly Driver sticker.
The initial focus of the Bicycle Friendly Driver Program is to target people who drive fleet vehicles because they are behind the wheel more than the average person. Fleet drivers are also often driving larger vehicles that require special attention to operate safely. We have been contacting businesses and organizations who have fleets and I am happy to say that they widely recognize the importance of this education and are signing up to provide the Bicycle Friendly Driver training to their drivers.
The City of Fort Collins Natural Areas Department and New Belgium Brewing drivers have already completed the training. In addition, drivers from the following businesses or organizations are scheduled to train in early 2016: Green Ride, Transfort, City of Fort Collins Utilities Light and Power, City of Fort Collins Utilities Environmental and Regulatory Affairs, and Gallegos Sanitation, Inc.
There will also be classes open to the public that will be offered via the City of Fort Collins Recreator starting in February 2016.
Be on the lookout for the Bicycle Friendly Driver stickers around town and give a wave and a thumbs up to the people driving the vehicles to congratulate them on their dedication to keeping all road users safe.
If you are interested in hosting the training at your business or organization or in finding out when classes for the public are being offered visit fcgov.com/BicycleFriendlyDriver or call 970-221-6987.
Jamie Gaskill-Fox is a program specialist with the city of Fort Collins FC Bikes program (fcgov.com/FCBikes), the coordinator of the Bicycle Ambassador Program (BicycleAmbassadorProgram.org) and a member of the Bicycle and Pedestrian Education Coalition (BPEC).