UW News

January 21, 2010

Don’t be in the dark: Get your bike lights, reflectors tested Jan. 27

UW News

It’s another dark, rainy winter here in sodden Seattle — are your bicycle lights and reflectors as good as they need to be?

You can find out in a class being offered Wednesday, Jan. 27, by the Cascade Bicycle Club. It’s free, and sponsored by U-PASS and Commuter Services, which is part of the UW’s Transportation Services Department.

The class, See and Be Seen: Lights and Reflectors Test Lab, is one of a series being offered from now into summer. It takes place from 5 to 7 p.m. on Skagit Lane. All you need is a working bike and a helmet.

“It’s kind of a drop-in format,” said Stephanie Frans, commute program coordinator for the bicycle club, who will lead the class. She said the session will take place in a dark spot at the south end of the lane and will make use of a UCAR that participants can sit in to check their gear from a driver’s point of view.

“What we’ll do is let people see what they look like in the lights of the car, and then without the lights. We will ride their bikes — and if they want us to, wear their gear — we’ll ‘be’ them, and ride their bikes through the headlights.

“We really want them to see what they look like in the dark so they can find ways to enhance their visibility.”

And if you need gear, there also will be representatives of the ASUW Bike Shop and Hall Health on hand with a wide variety of safe biking gear for sale at reasonable prices. You can also chat with fellow bike commuters about their experiences.

“We can’t prescribe any one product,” Frans said, “but one of the values of having a bunch of people there is that they can swap their gear stories” so everyone can decide for themselves what’s best for their circumstances, she said.

This class is free to the UW community, but there will be a charge for others in the series. U-PASS holders will get a discount, though.

“Safety has always been key to the U-PASS message,” said Celeste Gilman, transportation systems manager, “and being seen is a big part of safe cycling. We’re excited to be able to offer the UW bicycling community this unique opportunity to access and improve their visibility.”

The class is part of a broader series of cycling lectures and workshops being sponsored by Commuter Services. Josh Kavanagh, director of transportation services, said, “We’re focusing on cycling as a significant part of our strategy for an environmentally and financially sustainable campus transportation program.

Other classes to come in the series will be:

February 18, 12:30 p.m.: Biking Rules! Traffic Principles for Safe and Enjoyable Cycling (a free lecture)

March 4, 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.: Basic Bike Handling Skills ($25 general; $10 for U-PASS and U-Powered U-PASS holders)

April 6, 12:30 p.m.: Bike One Bike All: Introduction to Bike Commuting (a free lecture)

April 29, 5 p.m.: Tour de Husky: Rolling Bike Lab ($25 general; $10 for U-PASS and U-Powered U-PASS holders)

June 3, 12:30 p.m.: Advanced Bike Commuting (a free lecture)

July 14, 5 p.m.: Urban Traffic Skills ($25 general; $10 for U-PASS and U-Powered U-PASS holders)

You can learn more and register online here.

And by the way, this is the 40th anniversary of the Cascade Bicycle Club, which with about 11,000 members, Frans said, is the largest bike club in North America. Learn more online here.

Frans added, “One of the things we like to say about bike commuting — it’s not just a commute, it’s also a community.”