Attendees at first “I Am Traffic” colloquium on 2013-02-24 in Orlando, FL. Please click photo repeatedly to enlarge. Use back arrow top-left to return to this page.
(For identity of those in above photo, please see the end of this blog.)
I had the pleasure and privilege of attending the very first “I Am Traffic” colloquium in Orlando, Florida, from Feb. 23-24, 2013. It was a gathering which attracted leading bicycle transportation advocates from around the country, intent on promoting an organization whose main goal is ensuring that all drivers of human powered vehicles are expected and respected as a normal part of traffic on America’s public roads.
The inspiration for it came from the newest and potentially most important bicycle education program to date, called Cycling Savvy. Keri Caffrey began her odyssey in 2008 with a comprehensive blog, and developed the curriculum initially with Mighk Wilson, aided by Lisa Walker, and later by Dan Gutierrez and Brian DeSousa.
It built on the important work of John Forester, who first defined a cyclist as a vehicle operator in his 1975 book Effective Cycling, published by MIT Press in 1984, and showed how bicycling could be done safely by proficient and knowledgeable cyclists. Forester also taught adult bike education courses, as well as publishing a 1980 curriculum for children Grade 3 (9-year-olds), Grade 5 (11-year-olds), and Grade 7 (16-year-olds) called “Effective Cycling at the Intermediate Level.” (I have copies available, purchased from Forester, if of interest.) Forester also wrote a book geared more towards traffic engineers called “Bicycle Transportation,” first published by MIT Press in 1983.
Diana Lewiston, who assisted Forester initially, also produced and taught her own curriculum in Palo Alto, CA, middle schools for a decade, ending in 1991. Her curriculum, called “Bicycling in Traffic – Intermediate Bicycle Handling & Beginning/Intermediate Urban Traffic Skills,” graduated hundred of students able to use their bikes for transportation. It introduced novel ideas, like equipping each student with a helmet- or head-mounted specially adapted walkie-talkie to allow constant communication as they practiced on-road intersection maneuvers. It was where I first learned the concept of how to teach a novice to judge a safe gap in traffic: not by trying to assess speed and distance but by counting seconds until a vehicle would arrive and comparing that with the estimated time required to cross an intersection. Diana Lewiston also described the preferred way to start and stop a bike, an essential skill rarely taught. With Diana Lewiston’s permission, I’ve posted her complete curriculum for download on-line here:
Diana Lewiston’s “Bicycling in Traffic” curriculum for 13-year-old school children
This colloquium also introduced me to Roger DiBrito (roger.dibrito “at” gmail.com) and his Journeys from Home Montana program, aimed at providing bike education to children of different ages. This includes taking the more mature students out on the road, which is essential for teaching children how to ride safely in traffic. Despite repeated attempts, I’ve not found any school in metropolitan St. Louis willing to do so out of fear of law suits, and my research has found no insurance company willing to provide coverage for a PE teacher for an on-road bicycling course.
Note: I find this both very strange and frustrating, given that companies specializing in this kind of insurance DO offer it for sporting activities which can lead to serious injury.
Robert Seidler’s Effective Cycling movie, made in collaboration with John Forester in 1992, was for years the gold standard for solidly based on-road bicycle education, and which I’ve used many times in the past.
The most recent innovation has been helmet-mounted videotaping. The first example I saw, introduced at LAB’s Bicycle Education Leadership Conference (BELC) in Portland, OR, in 2003, was Chris Quint’s “Cyclist’s Eye View.” This featured Chris Quint being videotaped while cycling as a proficient vehicle operator on-road. Dan Gutierrez was the videographer, using a helmet-mounted camera, a novelty at the time.
Chris Quint recounted later that he deliberately chose to dress in normal street clothes with pant clips (or bicycle clips) and ride an upright three-speed bicycle to convey that this was a normal activity, and didn’t require lycra or fancy gear. This video is now on YouTube in three segments, e.g. Cyclist’s Eye View [part 1].
Dan Gutierrez (e-mail: Dan.Gutierrez “at” charter.net) and Brian DeSousa went on to found Dual Chase Productions in 2007 and produced numerous helmet camera videos in what is called “dual chase view,” an award-winning video technique where they are riding close to a bike length’s apart and each cyclist is shooting the other and the traffic in front or behind. The video is synchronized and combined in a picture-in-picture display to give a 360 degree view of traffic in the front and rear. The first and most influential example of this technique is their 4:21 minute video, “The Rights and Duties of Cyclists,” which has now passed 100,000 views on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rU4nKKq02BU.
Many other individuals have contributed educational material promoting cycling as a valid form of on-road transportation. Among them is John S. Allen, who wrote “The Complete Book of Bicycle Commuting” (1981), followed by his popular booklet called “Street Smarts” in 1988, both published by Rodale Press. An updated version of Street Smarts is available from http://bikemaps.com/bss.htm
John Ciccarelli produced his “Street Skills Instructor Package” with written and PowerPoint video material in 2004.
Dave Glowacz (pron. “Glow-vatch”) and apparently known as “Mr. Bike” in Chicago (e-mail: glow “at” biketraffic.org) was one of two newly-minted LCI’s who drove from Chicago to St. Louis to give the Road I course I took in the summer of 1997. That qualified me for the training later that year in Columbia, MO, conducted by LCI Bill Hoffman, that resulted in my LAB instructor certification. Dave Glowacz wrote a variety of illustrated bike safety booklets suitable for different age groups, adopted by highway departments, etc. He also wrote “Urban Bikers’ Tricks & Tips“, published in 1998 by Wordspace Press. (Note: I can’t find a direct link for Dave on-line.)
The above list is neither exhaustive nor complete by any means and doesn’t pretend to be and if others would like to provide useful links to fill in those blanks I’d be grateful.
ATTENDEES PICTURED IN GROUP PHOTO
Photo credit: Robert Seidler Productions, photographers Robert Seidler & Roger DiBrito (plus Photoshop!)
1 Chuck Smith, Vandalia, OH
2 Harold Karabell, St. Louis, MO
3 Charley LaFlamme, Ogunquit, ME
4 Lisa Walker, Winter Springs, FL
5 Gary Cziko, Urbana, IL
6 Marcus Bagnell, Orlando, FL
7 Waco Moore, Dallas, TX
8 Karen Karabell, St. Louis, MO
9 Diana Steele, Orlando, FL
10 Toni Ferrell, Ft Myers, FL
11 Carl Stewart, Ladys Island, SC
12 Steve Mitchell, Lake Mary, FL
13 Tom Armstrong, Louisville, KY
14 John Forester, Lemon Grove, CA
15 Fred Oswald, Cleveland, OH
16 John Brooking, Westbrook, ME
17 Eli Damon, Easthampton, MA
18 Chris Lundberg, Meadville, PA
19 John Allen, Waltham, MA
20 Dan Moser, Fort Myers, FL
21 Jenn Bowers, Louisville, KY
22 Thomas Cook, Orlando, FL
23 Jeff Hohlstein, Orange Park, FL
24 Dan Gutierrez, Long Beach, CA
25 Jodi Hohlstein, Orange Park, FL
26 Dan Carrigan, Yellow Springs, OH
27 Andy Cline, Springfield, MO
28 Tim Mulligan, Saint Petersburg, FL
29 Martin Pion, St. Louis, MO
30 Guy Hackett, Cape Coral, FL
31 Leslee Mitchell, Lake Mary, FL
32 Eliot Landrum, Dallas, TX
33 John Egberts, Gainesville, FL
34 Bill Carpenter, Winter Springs, FL
35 Tamar Wilner, Dallas, TX
36 Kirby Beck, Coon Rapids, MN
37 Keri Caffrey, Winter Springs, FL
38 Mighk Wilson, Orlando, FL
39 Patricia Kovacs, Gahanna, OH
40 Bill Hoffman, Lancaster, PA
41 John Schubert, PA
42 Roger DiBrito, Florence, MT
43 Robert Seidler, Sopchoppy, FL
44 Tim Bustos, DeLand, FL
45 DeWayne Carver, Tallahassee, FL