Last Wednesday, 62 enthused folks gathered at SU's Henson Science Hall to listen, think, and plan. What was their shared interest? They all wanted to see more people use bikes in Salisbury.
The workshop was organized by bike-SBY and Bike MD and featured presentations by Matt Wempe from the League of American Bicylists, Anna Kelso from Bike MD, and Matt Drew from bike-SBY. The presentations helped participants what it means to be a Bicycle Friendly Community, what steps need to be taken, and why it is so important.
Before the night was over, participants gathered to share what they heard, then brainstorm ideas on how Salisbury could become more bicycle friendly. Click the link to read about some of the great ideas, including sponsoring an artists' competition for downtown bike racks, QR codes for business discounts on bike route signs, and many more!
The evening was a great start by our community and will lead to more actions to make our community more friendly for bikes!
Might I begin to offer some potentially helpful thoughts? One of the ideas discussed was a way to compile bike routes and Salisbury user input on all the routes. I think a useful interactive web-based tool that could help compile statistics and information about cycling in Salisbury (and surrounding areas) would help in planning.
Something along the lines of “Bike Planner (see link below):”
Another thing, not mentioned at the first meeting was access to bikes in the
area. I think more individuals might consider using a bike if they had one. Someone willing to host a bike cooperative type effort so that people could
get access to workable but cheap bikes might help. For instance, I routinely watch “Freecycle Salisbury” for bikes to fix up and make ride-able and either sell them for cost (usually $20) or donate to someone looking for a bike. I see all kinds of easily fixable bikes tossed away in the bulk landfill here in Salisbury (WHY!) and once they are in the skip they can not be fished out (they get rather annoyed at scavenging). It would seem easy to post a sign saying “please donate bikes to _________ rather than throw them out.” Salisbury could recover landfill-bound bicycles and accept donated bikes in any condition, repair them to working condition, and sell/donate them to area riders at a low cost. Salisbury University could easily provide orphaned bikes left over from each school year (after the required year long storage required by law).
I also really like the idea of education and “Bike Rodeo’s” and found this a good read as I am considering the thought of volunteering for such an activity.
I’d like to find information on how I could become a “certified” instructor.
Lastly, I liked the idea of a “Bike Buddy/Mentor” program. We could refer mentors to “interested and concerned” individuals who are interested in starting to bicycle to work to bicycling enthusiasts that travel roughly the same routes. Experienced cyclists share their knowledge about bicycle commuting and provide the new cyclist with advice on good routes to use, how to ride safely in traffic, bicycle gear needed for commuting, how to lock and/or secure parking for their bicycle, and how to pump a tire or perform minor repairs. The experienced cyclist could ride (bike-pool) with the new cyclist to work for awhile (3-4 times?). Matching area experienced cyclists with new cyclists could help them adapt to commuting by bicycle.
I could go on and on, but I think I best stop and see if this spurs any others to discuss.