Bike Utah: Reflecting on 2017: Where we are and where we need to go

Young bike riders in bike education program
Bike Utah conducted a successful youth education program in 2017. Here, kids from Hurricane, Utah's Valley Academy learn bike skills. Photo courtesy Bike Utah

By Phil Sarnoff

Over the course of 2017, Bike Utah had another great run of advocating for and educating on behalf of bicycling. Here are some of our accomplishments from 2017:

Youth Bicycle Education and Safety Training (BEST) Program

In August, Bike Utah wrapped up the first year of the Youth BEST Program. Here are some of the high points from year one of the program: 

• 3,053 students (13% of the number of 10-year-olds in Utah) at 44 schools and community organizations have completed the program

• 77% increase in bicycle safety knowledge after completing the program

• 145% increase in bicycling and a 65% increase in walking at participating schools

• 34% increase in parents reporting that their child is interested in bicycling or walking to school

• 62% of parents are reporting that, as a result of their student's participation in the bicycle education, they or other members of their household are more interested in bicycling or walking

Find out more at http://bikeutah.org/youth

Active Transportation Benefits Study

One of Bike Utah’s big campaigns over the past few years has been championing and fundraising for a study to quantify the benefits that bicycling and walking bring to the State of Utah.

• Bicycle related business and tourism have an economic impact of $425 million and are responsible for more than 3,500 jobs across the state

• For every mile Utahns walk they can save $3.07 in annual healthcare costs

• For every mile Utahns bike they can save $0.75 in annual healthcare costs

• The Murdock Canal Trail in Utah County costs $113,000 each year to maintain, however it generates over $3,600,000 million annually in economic impact. This is in addition to a one-time economic impact of $26 million and 234 jobs to build the trail.

• Bicyclists who visit Dead Horse Point trails in Moab generate $19 million annually in economic impact (more than $11 million from overnight trips).

Find out more at http://bikeutah.org/atbenefitsstudy

1,000 Miles Initiative

Bike Utah worked with Governor Herbert's staff on setting a goal for new miles of bike lanes, paths, and trails. The Governor unveiled a goal of 1,000 miles of new family-friendly trails and bike paths over the next 10 years. Bike Utah will be continuing to work with the Governor’s staff to ensure this goal is not only achieved, but exceeded.

Bicycle Friendly Driver

Bike Utah worked with UTA to implement a bicycle component into all new bus operators training. Over the course of the training, bus operators learn about: common crashes and how to avoid them; the principles behind sharing the road; different types of bicycle infrastructure; and the safety techniques taught to bicyclists, including taking the lane. The training also reviews numerous roadway scenarios. At the time of writing, more than 110 operators have gone through the training and they are on pace to exceed 200 by the end of 2017.

Mobile Active Transportation Tours

In conjunction with our partners, Bike Utah took 95 advocates, planners, engineers, and elected officials on our Mobile Active Transportation Tours (MATTs). Participants were able to experience first-hand bicycle and pedestrian projects and learn how to implement similar projects in their own communities. This year’s tours were held in Springdale, Murray, Davis County, and Minneapolis.

Find out more at http://bikeutah.org/mobile-active-transportation-tours/

Bike Park Tour

In May, Bike Utah took representatives from nine communities on a tour of two Utah bike parks. Bike parks are dedicated parks and recreation facilities that include features such as purpose built trails, pump-tracks, flow trails, jumps and progressive skills areas for all ages and abilities. Bike parks are one of the fastest growing segments of the bicycling because they provide an opportunity for people of all ages and abilities to build their skills in a community-based facility. Over the course of the tour, attendees learned how the parks were designed, funded, built, and maintained. As a result of the 2016 and 2017 tours, at least five new communities are working on implementing bike parks.

Active Transportation Pilot Grant

The Utah Department of Health EPICC/Bike Utah Active Transportation Pilot Mini-Grant supports small-scale (less than $1,000) bicycle and pedestrian projects that facilitate greater opportunities to engage the public with new active transportation ideas. In 2017, the Provo Bicycle Committee used this grant to install a two-week project to show how a street can be redesigned to be more inclusive of bicycling and walking. On a three-block stretch from 200 West and 500 West, there were buffered bicycle lanes, pedestrian bulbouts, raised crosswalks, and wayfinding signs. 

The 2018 grant period is open until January 26, 2018. Find out more here http://bikeutah.org/atpilotgrant

Utah Bike Summit

For the 9th year we produced the Utah Bike Summit, which brought together riders, advocates, planners, and elected officials in order to learn how to make biking better in Utah. The 2017 Utah Bike Summit had more than 270 attendees.

Find out about the 2018 Utah Bike Summit here http://bikeutah.org/utah-bike-summit/utah-bike-summit-2/

National Bike Summit

Bike Utah, for the 9th straight year, led a group to Washington D.C. for the National Bike Summit. The Utah delegation met with staff from our federal legislative offices in order to advance active transportation efforts.

These are just a small sampling of what Bike Utah accomplished in 2017. In order to find out more about what we do and how you can get involved, sign up for our email list at http://bikeutah.org/newsletter/

Just because the weather is getting cooler doesn’t mean that our work is done. Bike Utah works year round to ensure that all of Utah continues on the path towards being more bicycle friendly. All of the work we do is not possible without the generosity of our members and donors. Please consider an end of the year, tax-deductible contribution to Bike Utah by becoming a member or making a donation at http://BikeUtah.org

 

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