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Thursday, May 7, 2009

Sioux Falls Seeks Bicycle-Friendly Designation; Could Madison Follow?

Leather or spandex—wasn't that a Stevie Nicks song?

While the state puts together a new motorcyle-industry-funded propaganda organ to fluff up some scientific looking numbers on the value of the Sturgis rally, Sioux Falls is looking to promote that other form of two-wheeling. Thom Gabrukiewicz (we need more reporters with names like that) of that Sioux Falls paper reports that the city is applying for official Bike Friendly Community status through the League of American Bicyclists. City planner Sam Trebilcock says the designation will be good publicity and will help the city will help the city map its assets and plan improvements.

Perhaps Madison's new recreation trail commissioner, Nick Abraham (darn! no pic on the city web yet!), can take a swing at promoting Madison by getting our fair city involved in the Bike Friendly Community application process. The criteria for qualifying—the Five E's—look like good goals for any community:
  1. Engineering: what we build to support bicycling, like bike lanes and multi-use paths in the community (in, not just out on the edge).
  2. Education: providing safety information and teaching cyclists and motorists how to get along.
  3. Encouragement: signs, maps, community events, bike clubs.
  4. Enforcement: bike cops, fair enforcement of rules for motorists and cyclists, clear bike laws.
  5. Evaluation & Planning: basing city actions on data and clear plans.
The only place I get antsy about meeting those criteria is under enforcement: the LAB encourages helmet laws. Cycling Puritans will wail, but I still can't bring myself to mandate puttign on the hat.

Otherwise, fulfilling the standards of the Bike Friendly Community designation would be a progressive project for Madison. And its doable, even for small towns: the Bike Friendly Community master list for Spring 2009 includes some non-metropolitan places, such as...
There's a summer project for you, Commissioner Abraham! Let's not let Sioux Falls beat us to becoming the first Bike Friendly Community in South Dakota!


  1. Shame on you. "Leather and Lace"


  2. If lots of people start to bike those who ride without helmets will be weeded out quite quickly.

    On a side note, I'm not sure if there are many riding groups in Madison, but out here in the hills there is the BHMBA which advocates for the biking population. More importantly, as a formal organization, they can go after funding. Over the past 3 years alone they have secured over $500,000 for trail construction/land purchases here in Rapid City alone. Trails are actively being constructed in the city as I speak.

    Don't count on the city; in fact, expect them to be an impediment. Circumvent them all by going to the dollars directly.

  3. Good article on bikes and safety--via Mark Bittman's Twitter feed: http://www.worldchanging.com/archives/009838.html

    More bikes seems to=fewer injuries, not more.


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