I recently had a great conversation with Jack Todd, Director of Communications and Policy for Bicycle Colorado. We discussed the organization’s plans for 2021 and beyond. As you know, I’m a big proponent of bicycle safety in Denver and Colorado. Since my boys were babies (the oldest one is graduating from high school this spring!), I have been working on city and state initiatives to make our roads safer.
So, it was interesting and inspiring to speak with Jack about Bicycle Colorado’s goals. Allow me to share!
In a nutshell, here is what Jack said Bicycle Colorado aims to do: “We want to create a Colorado that is safe and accessible for everyone who chooses to ride a bike or needs to ride a bike. Increasing safety for everyone is our number-one goal.”
He went on, “We think bicyclists shouldn’t have to fear for their lives on our roads, so we work to pass bike safety legislation, offer education campaigns for both bikers and drivers, and we advocate for infrastructure changes that will make biking safer.”
One of the ways that Bicycle Colorado makes biking safer is by educating both bikers and drivers. Their “Bike School” program offers Learn to Ride Lessons, Confident Commuting Workshops, Bicycle Rodeos, Youth Bicycle Safety Presentations, Group Rides, Maintenance Clinics, and Dockless Bike Share Demos.
For drivers, Bicycle Colorado offers a Bicycle-Friendly Driver Course, which helps drivers learn how to properly and safely share the road with bikers. The course covers common motorist-bicycle crashes and how to avoid them, legal and illegal behavior of motorists and bicyclists, and how to navigate on-street bicycle infrastructure, such as bike lanes.
The organization also offers Walk Audits for schools and communities, surveying school grounds and nearby streets to recommend infrastructure changes or to route mapping options.
Jack says, “Our education team is made up of great educators who are passionate about creating a safe environment for bikers.”
Jack said that Bicycle Colorado also wants to get more people on bikes, which is actually harder than you might imagine. One of the biggest hurdles is that a lot of people don’t even picture themselves on bikes! Jack says that most people picture bikers as young, able-bodied white men.
“We want to increase representation among bikers,” he says. “We are trying to help people picture themselves on bikes. Through our RIDE initiative—short for Respect, Inclusion, Diversity and Equity—we’re trying to build a more inclusive and equitable movement for all people on bikes.”
For example, bikers (both rookies and seasoned bike commuters alike) are encouraged to submit pictures and their stories to the Why I Ride campaign, which aims to help people picture themselves biking more. The organization has also created a RIDE Advisory Board that is working to expand bicycle equity in Colorado.
Bicycle Colorado also works to make biking more accessible with bike libraries and low- or no-cost bikes for low-income residents.
“For some people, biking isn’t just a nice way to get around, it may be the only way to get around,” says Jack. “Cars are a luxury and we need to make it safer and more accessible for those who literally need to bike so they can get to school or work.”
Bicycle Colorado runs bike drives to provide free bikes to underserved communities, offers bike maps for safe routes around the state and in busy cities, and advocates for infrastructure changes that make biking safer.
Finally, Bicycle Colorado also advocates for big bike projects, like the Broadway bike lane.
“We are still in conversations with the city about connecting that project to the Cherry Creek Trail,” says Jack. “Bike lanes and safe places to ride don’t just happen. People need to fight for these things. We are fighting for safer places for Coloradans to ride.”
I learned a whole lot more from my conversation with Jack, so I plan to dive deeper into some of these programs in future articles. In the meantime, I highly recommend that you check out their website and find more ways to get on your bike!