RamBassadors educate bicyclists without giving tickets

Sady Swanson

RamBassador Rees York, a junior civil engineering major, tells bicyclists to be audible before going through and underpass. (Photo credit: Sady Swanson)
RamBassador Rees York, a junior civil engineering major, tells bicyclists to be audible before going through and underpass. (Photo credit: Sady Swanson)

Student ambassadors, called RamBassadors, have been out on campus this semester helping students avoid tickets and accidents on their bikes.

Students in RamBassadors, a new program funded by the Transportation and Parking Services Department at Colorado State University, are assigned different places around campus where transportation issues often occur and help educate people to be safe and smart while biking or walking, according to Colorado State University’s Parking and Transportation Services Department Manager Aaron Fodge.

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“The RamBassador’s job is to help promote a safe environment to encourage more people to travel by bike, walk or transit,” Fodge said.

To accomplish this, RamBassadors go out to bike trails and talk to bicyclists on how to be safe, according to Fodge. They discuss things like using audible signals, being aware of your surroundings and stopping when required. They cannot and do not give out tickets.

“A major impediment to safety right now is that a lot of people are wearing headphones, or are afraid to talk to each other,” Fodge said. “Today, when you tell someone you’re on their left, they almost freak out.”

Along with getting bicyclists to audibly communicate better, RamBassadors also encourage bicyclists to stop or yield when it is required and stop cyclists from completing illegal moving, like riding the wrong way on the road or trail. They also remind bicyclists to dismount in dismount zones.

RamBassadors also count the number of bikes, longboards and pedestrians that pass them while they are out educating people, Fodge said. This data is used to understand where people are traveling in different ways.

Rambassadors also count bike racks and calculate what percentage of the racks are full to see where more bike racks might be necessary. They also collect data from the Max bus system and the Around the Horn system, figuring out who is riding those systems.

Sophomore chemical and biological engineering major Angelo Zito said he enjoys educating bicyclists on how to be safe on campus.

“We are really helping people be safer on campus, use the sidewalks and bike lanes better and just be more aware and responsible on campus,” Zito said.

Zito has received a lot of positive feedback from staff and students for reminding students and staff to ride safer. He had a staff member approach him in the Monfort Quad and thank him for reminding students to dismount their bikes.

“Staff that have to be in between buildings and go through all the traffic, they know how crazy a lot of things get,” he said. “They see you try to help them out, and they show gratitude for that, I think that’s probably my favorite part.”

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Amanda Fitzpatrick, the education and outreach coordinator for Parking and Transportation Services, agreed when Fodge said they have already received positive feedback about the program.

“A big thing is just having friendly faces out there,” Fitzpatrick said. “And people that are encouraging, at a busy intersection or a stressful path on campus, and all these modes are meeting up and there’s conflicts, we’re just trying to get it to run smoother.”

Collegian Reporter Sady Swanson can be reader at news@collegian.com or on Twitter at @sadyswan