The high schoolers from Hinsdale Central High School are setting trends in getting to school. On May 19, more than 40 kids from the area biked to school, where cheering student organizers greeted them and handed out candy, coupons for Caribou Coffee and water bottles.
Encouragement events like Bike to School Day proves that riding your bike to school is possible and very fun, especially when its 70 degrees outside. Riding to Hinsdale Central drew my attention to the lack of safe facilities for kids to use.
When I was a freshman at Hinsdale Central, a student was struck and killed while crossing the street. I shared this story with a student organizer of Bike to School Day, and let her know that her volunteering to run the event is making a difference. For readers of this blog, though, the challenge is giving our kids the opportunity to experience the joy of getting to school under their own steam.
On the same day as Hinsdale’s Bike to School Day, the Illinois Senate voted against an amendment that would require vehicles to stop for pedestrians in crosswalks. The bill is not dead, though. The Senate President is giving allies of human-scaled transportation a grace period to get more senators on board for the vote. Call your state senator right now and ask them to support House Bill 43, the crosswalk safety initiative. You can find your state senator’s name and phone number through Active Trans’ legislation page.
Senate passes texting ban, but fails to approve pedestrian safety legislation
We are disappointed that the Senate failed to pass HB 43, which would have protected Illinois pedestrians by requiring drivers to stop at marked and unmarked crosswalks when pedestrians are present. Current law is vague and difficult to enforce. It requires drivers to only yield. The vote today was 27 yes, 21 no, 7 not voting. 30 votes are need to pass a bill in the Senate.
Each year, more then 6,000 pedestrians are hit in Illinois, resulting in more than 1,000 serious injuries and 170 deaths, according to the Illinois Department of Transportation. That means a person is killed every other day. A child pedestrian is killed every week.
We urge the Illinois legislature to revisit this important issue in the next legislative session and join other states, including Maryland and Washington, that have made their streets safer for walking by passing “must stop for pedestrians” legislation.
We applaud the Senate for passing HB 71, which bans drivers from text messaging. Distracted driving is a leading cause of crashes nationwide, and we urge the House to approve the bill.
Many thanks to all the Active Trans members who lobbied for HB 43 and HB 71. We never would have gotten this far without your help.
As we gear up for this Sunday’s Bike the Drive, a quick reminder that Bike to Work Week is quickly approaching around the corner from June 15 to June 19. Get involved in Bike to Work Week by participating or leading a team for your company! And during that week, be on the lookout for several Commuter Stations in the northern suburbs including Highland Park, Wilmette, Skokie, and Evanston. Commuter stations will support your biking efforts with air, lube, coffee and many giveaways donated by our sponsors. To locate the commuter stations nearest you go to http://www.activetrans.org/biketometra. Be sure to visit a commuter station and receive a raffle ticket to Mayor Daley’s June 19 Bike Rally from 7:30 am-7:00 pm, the rally highlights include 312 Beer Garden, valet bike parking, Free T-Shirt and breakfast, raffle, music, and activities throughout the day .
For commuters searching for an alternate means of transportation or in need of a bike, consider attending the Evanston Bike Auction on Saturday, May 30 held at the NE corner of the Evanston Police Department at 1454 Elmwood Avenue and Lake Street. The auction begins at 10 am with a bike preview at 9 am. Only cash and checks will be accepted as payment, a Photo ID is required for checks. The first round will include 2 Cannondales, 1 Gary Fisher, 1 racing bike worth over $2,500, 1 Three wheel adult tricycle with a basket, and 2 small baby tricycles with a long upright guide pole set in the rear for pushing, steering, and stopping.
Join your friends and neighbors at the annual Village of Skokie Bicycle Safety Day, on Saturday, June 13 from 10 am to 2 pm at Oakton Park’s Parking lot (Oakton Street at Knox Avenue). Children through age 14 can participate in games and prizes, and ride a bike safety course that will test their knowledge of the law and their ability to properly handle a bicycle. Bikers can register their bicycles with the Skokie Police Department as well. The rain date for this event is Saturday, June 20.
This Sunday is the spectacular Bank of America Bike the Drive. Each year we have the wonderful opportunity to shut down Lake Shore Drive to car traffic for the morning and have a private party. It is an invitation-only event (and of course you are invited). We are in the midst of the mayhem that is Bike the Drive. Our phones are ringing like crazy. Our volunteers are pouring in thousands of hours of work. If you are one of those persons calling in, we'll get to you and we'll answer your questions. We strive to make this event the best that we can possibly make it. We are even working on the weather (looking pretty good, by the way).
Each year we get the question: "Why isn't the ride free?" I'd like to take a moment to answer that question. First of all, the event is very expensive to put on. The City is gracious to allow us the use of Lake Shore Drive, but it costs money. We have permits and services to pay for including: park district space rental, police and traffic aide labor (at overtime rates), barricades, ambulances, and food. This year, our services and fees have escalated to heights we couldn't forecast putting a lot of pressure on the event to turn out as many people as possible. All funds raised from the event go to support regional advocacy and educational programs. The event funds such great work as:
You get all of that for the price of one event. And if you act quickly, you can use my special coupon code of KIS6E5 for an additional $5 off.
Our organization turned 24 today and what a journey it's been!
We started out with a volunteer board who was convinced by Randy Neufeld that they should hire him if he could raise the money. He did and the rest is history.
We grew and grew. We started producing events like the Boulevard Lakefront Tour (which turns 21 this year) and started consulting with the City of Chicago and other municipalities to make it better to bike. We advocated for new trails, legislation to make it safer to get around and won bikes on Metra.
We now have 6,000 members, a strong board, more than 1,000 people who volunteer with us each year and a staff of nearly 40.
We've expanded our mission to advocate for biking, walking and transit and the future looks good!
We're hosting Bike the Drive next weekend, our biggest fundraiser and one of the biggest car-free bike rides in the country. We hope you can join us www.bikethedrive.org. Bike to Work Week is coming up June 13-19 (www.activetrans.org/biketoworkweek).
And just today, on our birthday, the RTA launched a new trip finding website for our region that will include walking, biking, CTA, Pace and Metra so people can make environmentally-friendly commuting choices.
Today, the Illinois Senate unanimously passed HB 2245. This bill, championed by Attorney General Lisa Madigan and House Majority Leader Barbara Flynn Currie (D-Chicago), will re-defines "crime of violence" as including leaving the scene of a crash involving the death or personal injury of a bicyclist of pedestrian victim.
This bill will provide the victims of such crimes, or their estates, with access to the Illinois Court of Claims for compensation of their injuries.
The bill previously passed the Illinois House and now goes to Gov. Pat Quinn for his signature.
Illinois has more than 6,000 crashes a year where motor vehicles hit pedestrians. HB 43, still pending in the Illinois Senate, will help reduce the pedestrian safety problem and hopefully make HB 2245 unnecessary. Please call your Senator and ask the Senator to vote for HB 43.