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OSU shifts gears of bike safety

A campaign promoting a positive bike culture is rolling onto campus as a resource for students and community members.

From January 2006 through December 2010, there were a reported 10,212 accidents involving a vehicle and a bicycle in the state of Ohio, according to the Ohio Department of Transportation.

The student group, Bike OSU has started a campaign called “How We Roll” to avoid accidents and to develop a safe atmosphere for bike-riding students.

President of Bike OSU, Denis de Verteuil, said this campaign was designed to reach the masses of cyclists around Ohio State’s campus to build confidence in city riding.

“(How We Roll will) put more butts on bikes and help cyclists bike smarter,” de Verteuil said.

How We Roll kicks off Monday at 6 p.m. at the West Plaza of the Ohio Union. There will be a three-hour launch party for the official start of the campaign.

Part of the initiative will include bike tours of the city, leaving twice daily from the Ohio Union. Two guides will lead up to six students for a three-hour town of the Short North and Downtown district, de Verteuil said.

The tours will also stop at local businesses such as Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams and the North Market for free samples and discussions about bike safety.

Biking to these places will show that there is more to see around Columbus than just campus, de Verteuil said.

“These local joints are the city of Columbus so it’s great to show them off,” de Verteuil said.

Students are welcome to bring their own bikes and helmets so instructors can do a bike check to ensure bikes are ready for city travel. Bikes and helmets will be supplied for those who wish to join but do not own a bike, de Verteuil said.

Matthew Cannon, a second-year in allied med and representative for local non-profit Yay Bikes!, offered his advice for safe biking.

“Be respectful of other drivers,” Cannon said.

Cannon said he understands how difficult it can be to maneuver around the streets of Columbus. He also suggested avoiding high-volume areas on campus and said, “the buses are the scariest part of riding.”

The tours are free and there is no reason for students not to learn how to ride correctly, de Verteuil said.

De Verteuil said there are several misconceptions when it comes to the relationship between cars and bikes in the city, and through these bike tours riders can learn more about safe-biking behavior.

According to How We Roll’s website, Bike OSU is offering free bike lights for riders.

The biggest goal of How We Roll, according to de Verteuil, is to teach riders the laws of the road, both on-and-off campus and to avoid behaviors that lead to accidents.

“Some cyclists obey laws on the road,” de Verteuil said. “But

abandon them while on campus.”

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