by John F. Washington, Jr., PCI #461T/EMSCI #037T
University of Pennsylvania Police Department
Education, Engineering, Enthusiasm and Enforcement – my 4 E’s of bicycling safety. I am the commander of a 30-officer bicycle patrol unit within an accredited police department that is actively involved in community outreach promoting bicycling safety issues. As such, I was recently forwarded a bicycling video to review under the “Education” domain of my 4 E’s. I viewed it from the perspective of community education as well as through my eyes as an IPMBA Instructor.
GEARED UP!, produced by the A’Hern Group of Baltimore, Maryland, is a 23-minute DVD divided into six chapters, each of which is one to five minutes in duration. It comes in a jewel case with catchy graphics, photos and text. It was filmed in and around Baltimore and other parts of Maryland, and, unlike the staid Effective Cycling video, is upbeat and modern. It also comes with Spanish subtitles. The target audience is the adult cyclist, whether self-taught or enrolled in a civilian cycling class taught by a League of American Bicyclists Cycling Instructor (LCI) or other educator involved with civilian cycling education. While not specifically designed for an IPMBA class, it covers much of the same material but on a more abbreviated scale.
The chapters include: 1) Introduction; 2) Equipping the Rider; 3) Roadway Riding; 4) Shared Use Paths; 5) Night Riding; and 6) Special Considerations. The Introduction stresses obeying the rules of the road and learning your state’s legal requirements, while also giving a brief overview of lane positioning, signaling, changing lanes and passing, and approaching intersections. Equipping the Rider begins with bicycle size and fit considerations, discusses required safety equipment such as an impact rated helmet, eyewear, gloves, and visible/reflective clothing, and moves on to cover accessories such as tool kits, pumps, lighting systems and pannier types.
The chapter Roadway Riding revisits the importance of bicyclists and motorists sharing the road and following applicable vehicle rules before segueing into utilizing hand signals and verbal communications, looking back during expected lane changes and scanning for hazards. Lasting about one minute, Shared Use Paths covers various scenarios that a cyclist might encounter in Anytown, USA, and some of the rules that govern their use. An effective overview of wearing reflective material, lighting systems and how to be visible is covered in the Night Riding chapter.
Special Considerations, at five minutes, wraps up the video, reiterating the increased responsibility of the bicyclist and the need to follow the pertinent traffic laws while keeping safety in mind. It also covers specific hazards such as dogs, debris in the roadway and potholes, railroad tracks, storm grates and the like before discussing proper hydration, how to secure a bicycle and public transit systems that accommodate bicycle commuters.
There is nothing in the video that is completely in conflict with the tenets of the IPMBA curriculum and it does not always use our specific monikers, but it gets an effective message across.
Overall, GEARED UP! The Essentials of Adult Bicycling is a well-produced and easy-to-use educational accessory that would fit well into a community-oriented bicycle instructor’s or IPMBA Instructor’s tool kit. It can be blended as an introduction into a standardized curriculum such as a League cycling program; as a quick hit, stand-alone video during a community presentation on bicycling safety; or during a break or as a review in an IPMBA class. It will be in my instructor tool kit – two pumped up tires for this offering!
Lt. John F. Washington, Jr., is the supervisor of the University of Pennsylvania Police Department. He is an IPMBA PCI, EMSCI, and Instructor Trainer. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
(c) 2009 IPMBA. This review appeared in the Winter 2009 issue of IPMBA News.