Locals peddle bike safety

Iowa+has+been+moving+toward+a+bike+share+program+for+some+time+now.+This+will+give+the+public+access+to+bicycles+for+a+small+fee.+%28The+Daily+Iowan%2FGlenn+Sonnie+Wooden%29
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Locals peddle bike safety

Iowa has been moving toward a bike share program for some time now. This will give the public access to bicycles for a small fee. (The Daily Iowan/Glenn Sonnie Wooden)

Iowa has been moving toward a bike share program for some time now. This will give the public access to bicycles for a small fee. (The Daily Iowan/Glenn Sonnie Wooden)

Iowa has been moving toward a bike share program for some time now. This will give the public access to bicycles for a small fee. (The Daily Iowan/Glenn Sonnie Wooden)

Iowa has been moving toward a bike share program for some time now. This will give the public access to bicycles for a small fee. (The Daily Iowan/Glenn Sonnie Wooden)

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Eight graduate students are working with Iowa City to promote bike safety.

By Katelyn Weisbrod[email protected]

A class at the University of Iowa is working with the community to devise methods to make biking more safe in Iowa City.

In 2014, the Iowa Bicycle Coalition recorded 334 crashes involving bicyclists in the state.

Eight UI graduate students are working on two projects promoting bike safety as part of assistant professor Shelly Campo’s communications campaign class in the College of Public Health. A UI program called the Iowa Initiative for Sustainable Communities has given the two groups $500 each.

One group plans to create a temporary bike lane on Olive Street in Iowa City as a way to show the community what it would be like if there were provisions for bicyclists.

“We are identifying major areas of biking in the city that need improvement, so we looked to find barriers to biking,” said Erin Arneson, a student in the class. “Infrastructure was a major one, like bike lanes, bike racks, things like that.”

Arneson said her group is envisioning removing the cars from the side of the road and building temporary barricades as a way of hypothetically showing what having bike lanes would be like in Iowa City. The project is still pending approval from the city.

“We’re meeting with community members to identify support,” Arneson said. “We would like to have an event this spring to show community members what it would be like if there were that infrastructure.”

The other group is taking a different approach. They are planning to create an educational video to inform both motorists and bicyclists about how to share the road.

“It’s cool to do a real project, to do something that’s not rhetorical,” said Laurel Tuggle, a student in the class. “This is actually has the potential to do something. Hopefully, we find something the city likes and they can implement it.”

At the end, the groups will present their projects to the groups they worked with throughout the semester.

“It’s definitely a really good learning experience to work with people in the community and also to implement the theories and the ideas we’ve been learning about,” Tuggle said.

The UI currently holds a silver ranking as a Bicycle Friendly University by the League of American Bicyclists, however, Andrew Hirst, an intern in the UI Office of Sustainability, said he thinks there needs to be more barricaded bike lanes and less bike share lanes, where motorists and bicyclists share the lanes of the road.

“The next step will be redesigning our road system to incorporate bike lanes,” Hirst said. “We have a wonderful bike community in Iowa City, we have the bike library, a new bike-share program coming in the fall.”

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