13 July 2017
On Friday June 30, 2017 I had the honor of instructing a Traffic Skills 101 class hosted by the City of Bethlehem Health Bureau. The class was organized and set up through the Coalition for Appropriate Transporation (lvcat.org). Twelve students attended the class, including Bethlehem City Health Bureau employees and interns, a PennDOT official, and two police officers from neighboring police departments. The City of Bethlehem Police Department lent a hand by sending an IPMBA certified bike officer, Officer Dale Host, and a certified police cyclist instructor, Officer Blake Kuntz. We also had an appearance by WFMZ’s own Bo Koltnow who came with a film crew and also got on his bike for some of the on-bike skills. Here is a link to the WFMZ coverage of the training.
The class was taught by League of American Bicyclist Instructors Scott Slingerland, Jason Schiffer, and Betty Kelly. The Traffic Skills 101 class is a full-day class that provides each student personal experience and perspective as a cyclist in traffic flow. We teach the cyclists how to understand complex traffic issues such as door zones, lane positioning, communication with motorists, complex intersections, paring, signage, bike lanes, and multi-use paths and trails.
It is important that these people,, many of whom are responsible for planning our communities, designing roadways, and enforcing the laws, gain an understanding and real experience of what it is like riding a bike in traffic. Hopefully, continuing education of both cyclists and motorists will begin to reverse the unsettling trend of an increase in crashed involving cyclists and motorists. Distracted driving remains one of the biggest challenges we all face, whether motorists, cyclists, or pedestrians.
For more information about Traffic Skills 101 classes, and how you can get more bike safety education for you or your organization, check out CAT’s website.
Jason Schiffer is a retired police officer from the City of Bethlehem and has been a certified cycling instructor since 1999. He is currently a practicing attorney representing injured cyclists and other crash victims at the personal injury law firm of Cohen, Feeley, Altemose & Rambo in Bethlehem, PA.