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Lessons from the SVBC Bicycle Advocacy Summit

In just one month, the kids will be back in school. As we plan for the upcoming year’s Walk or Wheel (WoW!) program, which encourages kids to walk or bike more, notes from the Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition’s (SVBC’s) Bicycle Advocacy Summit in April provide useful guidance on policies to help make our streets safer and practices that get kids (and commuters) excited about biking. Thanks to Katie Stern from Passerelle Investments for sharing her excellent notes!

Most Important Take-Away Messages

Be part of the bicycle advocacy movement – join  SVBC

Start with fast, light and quick opportunities for change in bicycle infrastructure

  1. trim hedges to make it easier to see children at cross walks

  2. add green paint to bike lanes and bike boxes at stop lights

  3. add sharrows in the middle of the road

  4. take the street back for bicyclists and have messages like “bikes may use entire lane”

  5. add wayfinding to show the safest routes to school and downtowns

  6. place maps in strategic locations with bike parking and bike routes clearly shown

  7. change speed limits based on fast or slow (18 or less mph and 33 mph) that way drivers can easily gauge if their speed is appropriate

  8. drastically reduce downtown and neighborhood speed limits

Make cyclists feel welcome in your community – Bicycle Oriented Development (BOD)

  1. put in covered/secure bike parking

  2. add sharrows and painted bike lanes

  3. make sure there is signage for bike paths and bike parking

Start bicycle education when children are 10 years old

  1. make bicycling fun and safe

  2.  bike rodeos, bike nights, helmet checks, bike maintenance, bike trains and walking buses, Walk Wednesdays or Foot Powered Fridays, Pedal for Prizes, etc.

  3. get children involved with the safe route design process (they know if they feel safe or not)

Use social shaming or peer pressure to encourage friends, family and community members to ride their bike

  1. pick a few days a week or a few errands a day to use your bike

  2. start with the daily decision that you want to make a difference

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