A few weeks ago, I was talking to a young woman about her commute to work. She wanted to start riding her bike, but didn’t know where to start. I pulled out a county bike map to help her figure out a route. Immediately, I saw that the map was way out of date.
“It doesn’t show it, but there’s a bike lane here, and that dotted green should be solid – that was finished months ago. Also, there’s a bike bridge here now, and this gap was closed last spring…”
Time to swap out my maps, I thought. How old is this thing?
I turned the map over to discover that I actually had the newest edition – just a little over a year old. And it occurred to me, we did that! Advocates across two counties, through years of speaking up, reaching out, and fighting back, have gotten things moving forward so quickly that the maps can’t keep up! In the last few years, our area has seen an unprecedented spread of bigger, better bike lanes; new bike and pedestrian bridges; bike parking that encourages people to ride to work and shopping; and, most importantly, a new mindset among planners and decision makers that is leading to bike facilities being considered whenever roads are being built, redesigned, or repaved.
Wonderful as this trend is, it does not mean we are about to rest on our laurels. More than ever, we need to work hard to improve the knowledge, skills, and behavior of both people on bikes and motorists. That’s why, as we continue to push for new and better bike infrastructure, we’re focusing more than ever on outreach and education through these programs:
- Safe Routes to School – We taught safe walking and biking skills to over 3,500 young students this past year. With continued funding, we expect to reach another 4,500 in 2013!
- Employer outreach – We’re stepping up our efforts to engage employers and help them create a work environment that promotes and rewards bike commuting.
- Vision Zero: Silicon Valley – Our flagship program has created the Roadway Safety Solutions Team, a group of cyclists, law enforcement, first responders, engineers, elected officials, state agencies, and health experts. This group is implementing holistic strategies with the goal of zero roadway fatalities, zero major injuries, and zero reasons not to ride a bike.
Our mission is get more people in San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties to see the bicycle as an easy option for everyday use. We’re constantly working to provide the facilities, the knowledge, and the peace of mind that make riding a bike a fun and comfortable way for people of all ages and abilities to get around. We’re making great progress, but we need to keep moving forward, and for that we need your help.
I’m asking you to make an end-of-year donation to support our advocacy work to make Silicon Valley and the Peninsula more bike-friendly. As our staff and resources grow, so does our ability to reach out, educate our community, and create change on our roadways. Your donation will help us maintain our aging technology, purchase supplies we need to stay effective, stay current on the latest advocacy issues and infrastructure designs, and continue to grow so that we can address even more of the challenges our two counties face. Please, consider donating $20, $50, or more to help bring bike-friendliness to all our communities.
With your help, we’re building a movement that is creating permanent change. In the next ten years, I envision our area as a place where nobody thinks twice about taking a bike to the store, going for a lunchtime ride, or wheeling the kids to school. I envision a place where those out-of-date maps won’t even matter, because getting around on a bike won’t need special instructions. If you share my vision, please help SVBC make it happen.
Thank you for helping us create a more bikeable world. SVBC is you. Let’s ride!
President and Executive Director
P.S. I hope you’ll be able to join us at our Winter Member Party, coming up on December 6, from 6:30 to 8:30 pm, at the Historic Adobe Building in Mountain View.
Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. All donations are tax-deductable to the extent permitted by law. Tax ID #77-0338658