This Sunday's annual Bike the Drive was amazing. I'd like to thank all of our wonderful volunteers and staff who worked so hard to make this day so special. I'd also like to thank the weather, for it was perfect. I know the headwind was tough for some. We've set up a few things for people to share ideas and stories about the event:
1. Become a member of the Active Transportation Alliance group through Facebook and post your photos and comments for all to see.
2. Post photos on Flickr and use the tag "2009 Bike the Drive".
3. Post photos on both the Tribune and Sun Times web sites. Just go to front page and the link should be on top.
4. Make comments on the blog, right here.
Thank you also to the various City of Chicago departments who cooperated with us this weekend: Mayor's Office of Special Events, Chicago Police Department, Office of Emergency Management and Communications, Chicago Department of Transportation, Chicago Park District, and Streets and Sanitation. Thanks to all of our sponsors including a great three year run with Bank of America as title sponsor. This year's event marks the end of our contract and we're on the lookout for a family-friendly company to come in for 2010 and beyond.
Finally, I want to call out the following folks who busted their tucheses over the past six months to make this event go as smoothly as possible:
Christine Schwartzkopff -- Christine is our Director of Events and runs the logistics, from port-a-potties to road closures, it's all her doing.
Rebekah Broussard -- Rebekah is our Sponsorship Director and she raises money, donations and food for riders helping us keep the costs down and the ride as affordable as we can.
Ethan Spotts -- As Director of Marketing he not only has to sell the event to the public, but he helps build the feel and experience of the event to ensure its family friendly and fun. Margo O'Hara, our Communications Director, works with Ethan to produce press releases, handle day of communications, and media relations. Thanks also to Akane Tsuruta for writing, layout, and additional communications assistance.
Jody Orlovick -- As Volunteer Coordinator, Jody needs to both find people to volunteer, train them and then place them in positions. Some how she found a way to do all of that and still go out and dance for at least one song.
Chris Ege & Mitch Brinker -- Chris manages all of our technology and for Bike the Drive that includes designing the website and working with Mitch, our graphic designer, on all publications and materials.
Daaron Kimmel -- Daaron is the newest in our Events Team and runs registration from beginning to end. Its a bit of a thankless job, but Daaron showed great tact with customer service and day-to-day preparation to ensure that the event was as smooth as possible. Day of registration was so huge this year, we ran out of rider numbers. We appologize for that to those who experiences this problem, but we've never had so many day of registrants. We'll be more prepared next year (if we don't well out!).
Our interns, Molly Hackney and Taylor Ekena, added great work.
Thank you everyone.
I've been reading a blog that a friend recommended and I wanted to share it with readers who don't already have too many blogs to read. Its called Infrastructurist and can be found here: www.infrastructurist.com/.
Today's lead entry is on the PBS series “Blueprint America” and their piece covering Portland.
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.