By Phil Sarnoff — Last month, Bike Utah announced the implementation of a Bicycle Friendly Driver Training that all new UTA bus operators will go through as part of their staff training. Over the course of the training, bus operators learn about: common crashes and how to avoid them; the principles behind sharing the road; different types of bicycle infrastructure; and the safety techniques taught to bicyclists, including taking the lane. The training also reviews numerous roadway scenarios.
“As a group, UTA bus operators spend more time on the roadways than probably any other group of drivers in Utah,” said Phil Sarnoff, executive director of Bike Utah. “They are also more likely to interact with people on bicycles given the location of bike lanes and bus stops. The UTA staff members in charge of bus operator training were very receptive to this idea and we are thrilled that this happened so quickly.”
“Safety always is the number-one priority at UTA,” said UTA Bus Operations Training Supervisor, Maria Stahl, “with the growing number of our riders who use their bicycles to connect with transit it increasingly becomes an area of attention. Cyclists are a growing segment on our streets, whether they are riding to board TRAX, FrontRunner or one of our buses or just pedaling from one part of town to another, we must be aware they are there to ensure their safety, as well as our own.”
The Bicycle Friendly Driver Training is modeled after a similar program in Fort Collins, Colorado. The Fort Collins program was started in December 2015. Since its inception the program has educated more than 2,000 drivers and worked with private citizens, businesses, schools, organizations, and municipalities to reach motorists. In addition, more than 110 people from communities across the nation (and even other parts of the world) have accessed their Bicycle Friendly Driver toolkit and many are starting their own programs in their communities.
Bike Utah is working to expand the training to existing UTA bus operators, state agencies, and businesses. They also plan to have an online training program available for the general public.
Organization, agencies, and businesses interested in setting up their own training program can contact Bike Utah’s Executive Director, Phil Sarnoff, at [email protected]