At its Annual Meeting on Tuesday night, the Rhode Island Bicycle Coalition (RIBike) announced a major grant from the RI Office of Highway Safety to expand “smart cycling” education throughout the state.
The $19,900 grant will fund three programs for smarter cycling. First, RIBike will offer classes across the state to teach smart cycling skills to more Rhode Islanders. Second, RIBike will train more instructors to teach such classes. Third, RIBike will develop a smart cycling guide that combines tips on safe & enjoyable bicycling with maps of where to bike in the state.
“Education is an essential step toward our goal of helping more Rhode Islanders feel comfortable riding bikes,” said RIBike Executive Director Alex Ellis. “We envision Rhode Island as a place where biking is safe & accessible for all, and teaching Rhode Islanders smart cycling skills is an important piece of that.”
The Rhode Island Bicycle Coalition works to cultivate a physical and social environment in Rhode Island that encourages bicycling for all ages and abilities. Founded in 2010, the Coalition hired its first staff in 2015 and has since quintupled its membership.
Tuesday’s meeting was held at the offices of Cleverhood, a Rhode Island apparel company. Other highlights of 2016 from the meeting included the Coalition’s involvement in developing Question 6, the Green Economy Bond, and in pushing for a multimodal vision for the 6-10 Connector. In addition to advocacy and education, RIBike has a third program area, running outreach events. These include Bike the Night (a quarterly bike party in Providence), Bike Month (which contained 30+ events in May), Light Up the Night (distributing free bike lights), and Tour de Tentacle (a Lovecraft-themed bike scavenger hunt returning on October 30th).
The Rhode Island Department of Transportation’s Office On Highway Safety (OHS) is the state unit responsible for implementing federally funded highway safety behavioral projects in Rhode Island.
“As a fundamental component of improving the quality of life for the citizens and visitors to the State, the mission of the OHS consists of two goals: To reduce the number of fatalities and serious injuries on Rhode Island’s roadways; and to reduce the number of traffic crashes and the severity of their consequences,” said Chief of Highway Safety Gabrielle Abbate. “The Bike Coalition’s work increases the multiple layers of protection we try to create for vulnerable road users and extends our reach into every neighborhood and roadway across our state.”