By Phil Sarnoff
Another great Utah Bike Summit is in the books. More than 285 bicyclists, advocates, planners, engineers, and elected officials converged on Provo for a day of sessions led off by mountain biking legend Gary Fisher. Again this year, the Utah Bike Summit served as a kick off for another great season of bicycling. Planning for the 2016 Utah Bike Summit is already underway. If you are interested in being involved in planning for next year’s summit, send us an e-mail at [email protected]
As part of the Utah Bike Summit, Bike Utah presented on our primary initiatives for the upcoming year. Here is a list of just some of the efforts we are moving forward in 2015:
School-Based Bicycle Education and Safety Program
The initiative we are most excited about is the creation of an education and safety program for elementary school students. Nationally, of students who live within a mile of their school, only 2% of ride a bike to get there. When this is coupled with air quality issues and rising rates of obesity among young people due to physical inactivity, bicycling seems like an obvious solution to many of these problems. We are in the process of developing a curriculum and seeking funding so this program can be implemented in Utah’s schools.
Active Transportation Benefits Study
Bike Utah is working in partnership with UTA, the Governor’s Office of Energy Development, the Utah Department of Health, and Wasatch Front Regional Council to commission a study on the economic, environmental, and health benefits that bicycling and walking bring to Utah. Similar studies have been developed in other states and have found the results to be significant. An overview of those studies can be found here: www.bikeutah.org/economics We hope the results of this study will serve as an educational piece in working with communities, businesses, and state agencies to develop more active transportation programs and projects.
HB 362: Local Option Sales Tax
Bike Utah was happy to be a part of the Utah Transportation Coalition that helped to pass HB 362. This bill created a local option sales tax and a portion of the revenue generated can be used for active transportation projects. We are now in the process of working with municipalities as they work to get referenda on their ballots to implement the local option.
US Bicycle Route System (USBRS)
The USBRS is a collaborative effort to create bicycle corridors across the United States. Currently, there are more than 8,000 miles of designated USBRS routes, but none within Utah. Bike Utah is working with UDOT and the Utah Outdoor Recreation Office on Utah’s first designated route.
Bicycle Friendly American Designations
Each year, the League of American Bicyclists designates bicycle friendly communities, universities, and businesses all across the country. Bike Utah has been working to build the number of designated entities in Utah. Over the past year, the number of Bicycle Friendly Businesses has jumped from 8 businesses to 25. Multiple Bicycle Friendly Community and Bicycle Friendly University efforts are in the works.
It is a great time to be working on bicycle-related efforts in Utah. If you are interested in being involved or supporting our work, please consider one of the following:
Join the Bike Utah board of directors: Bike Utah is looking for motivated, dedicated individuals to join our board of directors. More information can be found at www.bikeutah.org/opportunities The application deadline is May 11, 2015.
Become a member of Bike Utah: We greatly appreciate the support from all of our members and donors. We would not be able to advance any of these efforts without their support. Please consider becoming a member of Bike Utah or making a donation here: www.bikeutah.org/membership
Send us an e-mail: [email protected]