Virginia Tech’s Alternative Transportation Program implemented the Bicycle Ambassador Program this fall in an effort to encourage safe, responsible bicycle usage among Tech students and faculty.
Student ambassadors volunteer their time each week in order to teach cyclists of all skill levels about appropriate bicycling behavior.
The creator of the program, alternative transportation coordinator Kathryn Zeringue, said that she wants the program to be “a fun way to create educational and also social events for students who really like biking and also students who are new to biking.”
Zeringue hopes that the program will be a resource for students who want to learn more about cycling and that it will help students become actively involved in improving bicycling on campus.
“I want the bicycle ambassador program to serve as a liaison between the alternative transportation office and the student body,” Zeringue said.
One objective of the program is to promote safe biking habits. Ambassadors plan to hold bicycle registration drives, where they will review safety brochures. Also, they will serve as examples of how to bike responsibly by using and encouraging the use of lights, helmets and bicycle locks.
Student ambassador Robert Holland Jr., a senior industrial and systems engineering major, thinks the program will have a positive impact on campus safety.
“We want cyclists to be doing things in the legal way and the safest way possible,” Holland said.
Samantha Hill, a freshman communication major, said that biking safety is something that does need to be improved at Tech.
“I’m waiting for the day when I get taken down by a cyclist,” Hill said. “I think this program is a good idea because it will help make moving between classes and campus life in general safer.”
In addition to addressing safety concerns, Holland also hopes the program can change students’ outlook on biking.
“We really just want to improve cycling on campus for everyone. We want to make cycling as attractive as possible for people who might not have given it any thought,” Holland said.
Ambassadors plan to gather feedback regarding what students want out of biking services on campus. Currently, numerous events have been already been proposed for the program’s inaugural year.
The ambassadors plan to hold bicycle repair workshops and registration drives. They intend to host social events to show that cycling, besides being a form of transportation, is also fun.
Additionally, the ambassadors want to have giveaways during the year. They plan to encourage biking during the winter months by allowing bikers to enter ticket drawings for prizes. They are also hoping to partner with other groups, such as the SGA, to organize bike giveaways.