1. It’s not about the Bike
The bicycle is the tool but the real goal is strengthening our cities. Bicycling is a means to a stronger economy, social connectivity, better health, equity and personal mobility. As we transform our streets block by block, it’s important to emphasize how individual projects can achieve a city’s livability, equity and sustainability goals making our cities stronger and better.
2. Visible improvements (done well) count
Visible, physical changes to the street (like adding bike lanes or parking) is the number one way cities communicate that they are serious about supporting people biking. It’s absolutely essential to work with your community when you’re re-thinking a street. Have a meaningful and sincere dialogue about what the neighborhood needs (it might be even more than a bike lane) and be serious about considering not doing a project. If you’re ready to build, talk to businesses and residents to design the best possible details for the needs of the neighborhood. Bicycle Coalitions like SBBIKE have a huge role to play as we have strong ties to neighborhoods and can build the case for how biking can benefit people in these conversations.
3. Biking is fun and Even more fun in groups
Group bikes rides are building community from rural towns to big cities throughout the U.S. Social bike rides build relationships, and city pride in ways that have the potential to be more inclusive and fun than any other type of venue. They remind individuals of the independence and interdependence of transportation in our communities. Last but not least, the bonus benefits of group rides is they help people think critically about streets, feel more comfortable biking on their own, support local business and get people moving.
Imagine a fleet of well-tuned, self-service bicycles available 24/7 in locations all around Santa Barbara, enabling commuters to jump on a bike for a quick trip around town, to run errands, or to connect to transit. A newly released study, the South Coast Bike Share Feasibility Study, imagines and analyzes this concept in detail. Bike shares, already a staple in some 700 cities around the globe, allow users to temporarily rent bicycles from strategically located spots, returning them at other spots for their convenience. These public networks of bicycles are an important part of a city’s transportation system, as they increase equity for all road users, connect communities, and enable people to conveniently utilize a healthy form of transportation that is low impact in terms of congestion and pollution. The study, can be read at issuu.com/sbbike/docs/bikeshare-6__1_ or downloaded here. It shows Santa Barbara is a prime location for such a network and sets forward the first vision of a thriving bike share system locally.
After a weekend of intense training, 14 cyclists have earned the prestigious certification of League Cycling Instructor (LCI) from the League of American Bicyclists, a 125-year-old national bicycling organization.
LCI seminar participants learn how to teach bicycle safety and skills to all levels of riders. They receive the LCI designation only after qualifying for the seminar and demonstrating excellence in these skills and the ability to teach them.
Last week-end seminar was a collaboration between the Santa Barbara Bicycle Coalition (SBBIKE) and the San Luis Obispo County Bicycle Coalition (Bike SLO). Of the 14 new LCIs, two are from Santa Barbara, three from Santa Maria, one from Lompoc and eight from San Luis Obispo.
For the first time since SBBIKE has hosted instructor trainings for local cyclists, a waiting list of prospective instructors was generated. Education Director, Christine Bourgeois, is excited about what that means for the community. “Cycling is booming all over Santa Barbara & San Luis Obispo Counties,” she says. “People want to educate themselves, but they also want to educate others.” The group’s diversity, she notes—the new instructors range from PE teacher to fire fighter to bike mechanics—ensures education on safe cycling will reach a wide audience, including students, city officials, public health workers, businesses, and commuters.
The role model aspect is an important factor in spreading the message. “All of these new instructors are ambassadors for cycling,” Bourgeois explains, “examples riding around the community and showing how to do so safely.” Safe cycling is a leading way to reduce bicycle-involved accidents. A fleet of new instructors and more to follow adds up to an ever-growing wave of safe, confident cyclists sharing the roads. Both modeling and direct instruction mean fewer cyclists endangering themselves and others by making inappropriate riding choices, such as cycling on sidewalks or running red lights.
The 2 new LCIs from Santa Barbara are Christy Lozano, PE teacher at McKinley Elementary School and Diana La Riva, SBBIKE volunteer coordinator. Ian Sadecki, a firefighter in Lompoc will use his bike teaching expertise at the Lompoc Open Streets. Angela Ojeda, Robert Hatch & Jeff Spalinger who have been volunteering at the new Bici Centro Santa Maria are looking forward to expanding bike education in Santa Barbara North County.
Thank you to Bike SLO County for partnering with SBBIKE and for hosting the seminar in San Luis Obispo.
To learn more about becoming an LCI, contact Bourgeois at [email protected] or 805-699-6301.
Last week we rode our bicycles from Bici Centro with youth leaders from our SBici program (SB High’s Bike Club) to see Radiohead live in concert at the Santa Barbara Bowl.
Over the course of two days, SBBIKE parks over 1000 bicycles in our new corner of Alameda Park. It takes many volunteers to make it successful and fun. You'll get to see all sorts of sweet bikes, get fed, and you'll get an SBBIKE T-shirt. Lend us a hand!