Oct 11, 2011

More Doing and Less Talking

I see that my last post on this blog was a hissy-fit rant back on October 5 about the lack of response to bike parking.

The co-author let me know that it's time to cleanse the palate of that unpleasant after-taste with a newsy current events post, after all, we've been busy on a number of fronts, so pardon the long post...

In late September I got a great opportunity to assist with the Fall League Cycling Instructor course in St. Paul. The timing was perfect because this came on the heels of the Traffic Skills 101 course that I assisted/instructed in early September, so a lot of the material was fresh and I had some really useful road test experience under my belt.

Instructing the LCI candidates was both challenging and very rewarding. This was the largest group of LCI candidates we have had, so that made time management a real challenge. Add to that the fact that we had excellent representation from the bike shops, so we had very knowledgeable participants as well. Finally, we had excellent out-state representation, and even had people coming in from as far as Kansas for this course.

The course feedback was generally very favorable, and most of the class intends to go on to instruct (either through bike shops or scout troops, churches and other local venues). Nice to add such a big group of strong LCI's in training to the population.

The Bike Alliance of Minnesota held its first Behind the Big Wheels event last weekend. This was a first run at educating cyclists on blind spots and how to drive their bikes around large vehicles. Kudos to the Bike Alliance for doing this - the last three fatal bike/vehicle crashes we have had in the Twin Cities have been exactly this type of accident.

The set-up was relatively simple (although the logistics of getting the road closed took a lot of work, I would bet). One block of 2nd Street No. was narrowed and a school bus, an MTC city bus and a semi-trailer were parked as if they were driving in the southbound lane, next to the bike lane on 2nd. We were invited to ride around the trucks, get inside to see the driver's perspective and better understand what the drivers can, and can't see.

I mostly pedaled around and around the trucks giving people that showed up a chance to watch a cyclist pop in and out of the mirrors, but I got inside each of the vehicles with my Flip and captured some imagery as well. Here is a link to the semi-trailer view and here is a second link to the Metro Transit bus view. Click through - it's worth seeing and the videos are super short.

Although we didn't get what I would call huge participation, this was a very successful run because we were able to actually see how this would work and we were able to get still photos and video that will be useful for education and promoting these events going forward. MTC, Supervalu and the School district were great to help out with vehicles (and drivers) for the morning.

Finally, this week brings the start of my Emergency Medical Responder class. For those that may not know, Emergency Responder is a defined term that translates as "EMT Lite". EMR is a 60-hour course that is a lot more advanced than First Aid/CPR but less advanced than Emergency Medical Technician or Advanced EMT and big step below Paramedic. I had the chance to take a accelerated EMR course but demurred, because I was concerned about being able to really absorb the material. Although it's early, I am glad I stuck with the longer class - it chews up more time but makes it easier to digest each session before getting more information crammed down the brainhole.  This course will wrap up by Thanksgiving or so, at which point I should be a certified EMR, with all the rights and responsibilities that go with that title.

At that point, the trick will become putting this credential to work.

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