The Bicycle Transportation Alliance (BTA) has a new front in their effort to teach people about bicycling: They now offer college-level bike training courses in partnership with Portland State University (PSU) and Portland Community College (PCC).
The PSU class, Bike PDX: How to Commute by Bicycle, will be offered in two different sessions during PSU’s spring term which begins April 1st and runs through June 18th. Students can accrue one course credit for completion of the class.
Here’s the course description:
This course will help you become a confident and safe bicycle commuter. By learning the skills and legal requirements for operating a bicycle, participants will be able to create healthy transportation habits that will benefit the participant, the community, and the environment by reducing single-occupancy motorized vehicle traffic. Bring a bicycle or request one through the PSU Bike Hub rental program.
And at PCC, the class is called Urban Biking and Safety. It will be a non-credit course. Here’s the description:
Learn and practice safe and legal cycling with traffic in Portland through a combination of in-class and on-bike, on-street lessons. Includes basic bike mechanics and maintenance and effective communication with all road users.
The BTA is well-known for their Safe Routes to School education programs administered via federal/state grants; but their adult education programs have been limited to bike commuting workshops at various workplaces. “Partnering with PSU and PCC,” says the BTA’s Education Programs Manager LeeAnne Fergason, “allows us to offer a comprehensive safety education program directly to young adults who may be new to Portland and may be new to bicycling for transportation.”
At PSU, the BTA is set up as a “cooperative agency,” meaning they got to design the curriculum and then have it approved by PSU’s academic department. Typically, cooperative agencies receive a portion of the class fee ($55 in this case), but since this is the first time the course is being offered, and the BTA sees the course as, “an opportunity to expand and refine our adult education programs” (says BTA Communications Manager Will Vanlue), they are not charging a separate co-op fee. At PCC, the BTA will receive an hourly rate based on the in-classroom time of their instructors.
The PSU course is offered through the Graduate School of Education Continuing Education program which is geared toward professional development of teachers and other school administrators.
Fergason says the BTA is particularly excited to work with the education departments because the course will reach future teachers, “who one day will be in the classroom, partnering with our instructors for children’s education programs or teaching the program themselves.” “Teachers who understand the rules of the road and who are passionate about bicycling,” says Fergason, “help our existing Walk+Bike programs reach more children, more effectively.”