Bike ambassadors hope to make Appleton roads safer

APPLETON – Rob Gusky bikes to work every day, but sometimes, he says, the road can be scary.

“Unfortunately not everybody is trained to ride a bike or drive as safe as they could,” Gusky explained.

So, as president of the Fox Cities Cycling Association, Gusky decided to do something to help. He and some other cyclists asked the Appleton Police Department to collaborate on a Bike Ambassador program.

“Our main goal is just to model good cycling behavior out in the area, on the bike lanes, trails and so forth,” Gusky explained.

The police agreed.

So this summer you’ll see the ten volunteers riding in pairs on random days and times. You can’t miss their special, neon t-shirts that say “bike ambassador” on the back.

The ambassadors will show things like how to properly signal, wear the right gear and safely ride with traffic.

“All of our bike ambassadors are trained to follow the rules of the road,” said Gusky.

The police told us the program is important as the city adds more bike lanes.

“They know about the bike routes. I think some people around town are a little confused yet,” explained Sergeant David Lund.

While the main purpose for the ambassadors is to model good biking behavior, they’re also trained to be eyes and ears for the police.

“Talked about some of the criminal activity we see, especially during the summer months, could be entry into an unlocked vehicle, people entering an unlocked garage, that kind of thing,” said Lund.

But, to be clear, the ambassadors will not conduct police business.

“When they see things going on we’re encouraging them to give us a call,” Lund added.

And Gusky told us the ambassadors are there to answer questions too.

“It’s a great way for us to serve our community doing something that we love,” he said.

The bike ambassador program is scheduled to run through the warmer months, but Gusky told us, if it’s successful, they would consider winter rides too.

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