August Update from Bike Newport

Bike Newport, spearheaded by a representative group of Newport city stakeholders has made a great deal of progress since our May 20 inaugural Bike to Work Day –  with a significant focus on bicycle education.  We are working with the city, police, schools, businesses, NCCVB, community organizations and residents to reach more cyclists and to reinforce the rules of the road.  See the August update and sign up for alerts at www.bikenewport.me.

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7 comments on “August Update from Bike Newport

  1. Dennis says:

    Great idea! What education initiatives/methods are you pursuing?

  2. Bari says:

    Hi Dennis. Thanks for asking. Newport suffers from many cyclists riding unpredictably and dangerously especially during the summer tourist season. We're working to teach both cyclists and motorists what it means to share the road. We'll install our first NBW-sponsored bicycle awareness signs (the yellow diamond with a bicycle icon) next week. We're also working with the City and the Newport Police Department to educate cyclists – starting with people riding the wrong way on one way streets. We produced police pads that list the bicycle laws of RI along with recommendations in both English and Spanish which will be handed to cyclists who are breaking traffic laws, along with a warning. We also have two workshops in the works: 1) a City-Council sponsored Workshop about Bicycling in Newport, likely to be held in October, and 2) an AARP-sponsored class for City Leaders to take place in September. This latter workshop will convene by invitation to discuss and experience first-hand what it means to ride correctly in Newport traffic. Our goal is to better understand what we are asking of cyclists and how we can support and encourage improved cycling in Newport. Perhaps most importantly, we are working together with US Open Cycling Foundation to develop grade-specific K-12 bicycle education curriculum to be integrated into Health and Phys Ed classes in the Newport Public Schools as a pilot for other municipalities. We are currently seeking grants to fund this initiative to integrate cycling into a healthy life. More information at http://www.bikenewport.me. Thanks for asking!

  3. Labann says:

    What a load! Wonder why cyclists ride erratically in Newport? No bicycling infrastructure to speak of in a warren of badly paved, narrow streets, double parking by drunken or rubber necking tourists, government apathy, and scarce police. One way streets are a triage method for coping with roadnets designed in the 18th Century. A sign or sharrow avoids nothing. If anything, you should be educating legislators and mayors on what constitutes adequate urban planning.

    Yeah, a bicycling menace is too horrible to contemplate. Just who are you kidding trying to reign in cycling scofflaws?

  4. Bari says:

    Hello Labann. Indications are that most Newport cyclists do not know even the most basic rules of the road. Though surveys of students, residents and visitors are in progress, five minutes at the intersection of Bellevue and Memorial will confirm this observation. Bicycle signage is an obvious first step to improve awareness of road sharing, as is promoting the laws. Agreed that the situation is challenging and that history has not included much planning helpful to cycling, but we are moving forward slowly and collaboratively, one step at a time, to improve the understanding of what it means to share the road. An early focus on education does not preclude infrastructure improvements, in fact it should help us to get there.

  5. Labann says:

    Great, Barry… Bicyclists are Newport's biggest menace and first priority, not distracted/drunken motorists, lackadaisical legislators, and negligent office holders. Sure, let's blame the bicyclist and victimize the innocent. Half of them are children and teens who aren't legally responsible. Because bicyclists are vulnerable, you attack them first, which appeases businessmen and enables bad governance. You ought to recall mayor, representatives, town council; if any problem exists, they are to blame. A few bicyclists creeping along edges of roads where motorists aren't supposed to be anyway can't be tolerated for one second, but life threatening behavior by everyone else is totally embraced. What injustice! Occurs to me this constitutes a discriminatory hate crime. Traffic laws are very specific: Motorists aren't supposed to kill bicyclists or pedestrians, supposed to operate with caution. So, what, make it easier than that already is by whipping cyclists ineffectually into shape? How about closing streets to motor vehicles? Providing parking in outskirts supported by frequent bus loops? Revenues rule, so target cyclists instead. You know what, Newport isn't worth visiting by bike despite its recent rating as a national tourist mecca and upcoming America Cup series. My recent spin through there was a disappointment, not even a decent coffee shop with a bike rack at which to stop, and numerous idiots driving badly. Couldn't exit fast enough on my century tour, because the snarling sprawl extends into Middletown.

  6. Bari says:

    I don't think that teaching kids in school how to ride safely, helping every kid who wants a bicycle to get one and turning around holiday families riding the wrong way on Bellevue constitute hate crimes. And I'm pleased that we are all working together to help motorists and bicyclists alike learn to share the road while we work together for improved legislation and infrastructure. I see we have different approaches to the challenges. Perhaps our combined efforts will lead to improvements.

  7. barry says:

    I think both Bari and Labann are right, we need to both work on educating children and bicyclists about proper riding, and take incremental steps, (bike racks, map guides,, signs) the way bikenewport is doing, but we also need tto advocate for infrastructure for biking and for serious enforcement of safe driving as careless or distracted drivers can do so much harm with their vehicles, not just to bicyxlists but also to pedestrians, highway workers, even other motorists. We all have limited time and capacity, but all such efforts help.

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