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Speed, style, safety on display at bike event

Bikes of many shapes, sizes and speeds were showcased at Bike OSU’s Winter Bicycle Show, where riders and attendees learned about safety precautions and rules of the road.

“It’s … a big bicycle pageant, basically,” said Austin Kocher, a second-year graduate student in geography and president of Bike OSU. “People (brought) their bikes in and set them up, kind of like a car show … (Visitors can) vote on the best cruiser bike, the fastest bike, the sexiest bike, the oldest bike, the clunkiest bike, who knows what.”

Bike OSU’s first Winter Bicycle Show Thursday night at Knowlton Hall of Architecture Main Space also brought in students to see bicyclists.

“Some cyclists are really hardcore and want to race. People like me, I’m really slow,” Kocher said. “When people find out I’m a bicyclist advocate, they’re scared to ride with me because they think I’ll be really fast.”

Stations offered free bicycle safety checks, free tune-up stations and a free instructional station on the rules of the road.

“The real goal (of the event) is to, one, make sure that the bike is safe, two, if it’s not safe, we can fix it and three, we can provide education training,” Kocher said.

More than 30 bikes were on display in the Knowlton main space, including a four-seater and two police bikes with their riders.

Paul Lisska, a second-year in chemical engineering, however, said he liked the bikes with the carbon fiber rims.

Lisska said he is into bikes but does not hang out with a lot of other people that are.

“I just think it’s interesting to see all the other people that are into bikes,” Lisska said. “I don’t talk to anyone else about bikes, but you come here and it looks like they know each other and they’re friends.”

Kocher and Meredith Joy, who was a graduate student at the time, created Bike OSU in 2007. Kocher and Joy said they wanted to create a bicyclist community.

Bryan Mark, assistant professor of geography, has been the faculty adviser since fall 2010. He is also an avid bike rider who Kocher said rides his bike 355 days a year.

Mark’s main mode of transportation is his bike. He said if he used his car to drive to campus, parking and walking to his office would be the same amount of time as riding his bike.

Some cars, Mark said, don’t know how to handle bicyclists.

“I’ve had people roll down their window and swear at me, telling me to get off the road,” Mark said.

Ron Custer, Traffic Administration Officer of the Columbus Police Department, said some motorists and bicyclists don’t know how to be on the same road.

“(Bicyclists) have to adhere to all motor vehicle laws, stopping at a red light and yielding for pedestrians,” Custer said.

Kocher and Custer said bicyclists must ride in the right lane of the road.

On the Department of Public Service website, it said bicyclists must ride with traffic rather than against it. Only children are allowed to ride on sidewalks. Hand signals must be used and the bicyclist must be visible. Bright clothing should be worn and headlights and tail lights should be used when riding at night or in inclement weather.

Safety is a major concern for bicyclists.

“We’re really lucky because there are actually very few accidents each year,” Kocher said.

Pamela Temple, records manager, said in an Oct. 6 story published in The Lantern that the OSU Police records department does not keep records of bicycle traffic violations.

“There (aren’t) many that are issued a citation unless they collided with a vehicle,” Temple said.

Danielle Smiley, a fourth-year in strategic communication and a member of Bike OSU, is in charge of setting up the route for the Earth Day Bicycle Ride, recruiting volunteers “and everything surrounding it.”

She found out about the organization through her public relations class. Bike OSU is the class’ client. Smiley said she was excited for Thursday night’s show.

“It is a great way to really introduce Bike OSU to the student body and it will provide fun activities and a positive environment to learn more about biking while meeting a variety of different students who are interested in biking,” Smiley said.

Kat Ammon, a fourth-year in strategic communications, is also in the class.

Smiley and Ammon didn’t know Bike OSU existed before taking this class but are now members.

“I joined Bike OSU because I ride my bike to and from classes and thought Bike OSU would serve as a bike community I could associate myself with,” Ammon said.

Adam Hawkins contributed to this story. 

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