The League of America Bicyclists has again designated the City of Batavia as a Bike Friendly Community . The ranking is based on an extended assessment of factors. In the article that follows, we talk with members of the Batavia Bicycle Commission that has overseen the key factors leading to the BFC designation. These include:
- Total Bicycle Network Mileage to Total Road Network Mileage
- Bicycle Education in Schools
- Share of Transportation Budget Spent on Bicycling
- Bike Month and Bike to Work Events
- Active Bicycle Advocacy Group and Advisory Committee
- Bicycle Friendly Laws and Ordinances
- Current Bike Plan and Implementation
The designation also measures factors such as Engineering on the Bicycle network and connectivity, Education, Encouragement, Enforcement of safety and cyclist’s rights and Evaluation and Planning.
The BFC Report Card includes recommendations for Batavia to become a Silver Level Bike Friendly City. These include:
- Create an on-street bicycle network the complements existing trails in Batavia
- Continue building culture of collaboration with local organizations and bike shops
- Work with law enforcement to monitor and manage both bicycle and motorist traffic law infractions
- Increase bicycle safety education
In 2009 the Batavia City Council created the Batavia Bicycle Commission. The initiative began with the creation of the City of Batavia Bicycle Plan which was originally written and approved by the City Council in 2007. This initial Plan provided suggestions on how to make Batavia better place for bicyclists to ride and visit. Some of these guidelines included friendlier crossings, bike lanes for traffic clarity, clearer markings and signage and creating an overall awareness program. The plan also considered a safer routes to schools program.
The Batavia Bicycle Commission is made up of seven Batavia residents. Current members include:
John Gamble (Chair)
We talked with members of the Bicycle Commission to discuss progress on bike safety and community awareness. And we asked…
What does it mean for Batavia to be designated a Bike Friendly Community?
John Gamble: It means an increased awareness for everyone in the community to be alert for cyclists, but also for cyclists to respect and abide by laws intended for their safety.
The BFC designation applies for four more years. If Batavia chooses, it can apply to upgrade its status earlier based on achievement of the suggested factors for increased friendliness to cyclists.
COB: Congratulations on the Bike Friendly City designation. What led to the renewal as a Bronze Level Bike Friendly City?
John Gamble: Yes, we’ve been able to progress in some important categories the last four years, and this designation is good for the next four. So we’re looking at what it will take to reach a Silver designation. But most importantly, we’re focused on the four “E’s” that got us here.
- Enforcement: Make sure we create an atmosphere in which both bikes and vehicles respect the laws.
- Encouragement: We want to do what we can to invite people to ride.
- Engineering: Working with the city and park district to create bike friendly pathways
- Education: Our most important job is educating cyclists on their rights and responsibilities. But that includes educating motorists as well.
Amy Moore: One of the challenges we have is still convincing people, especially kids, to wear helmets. Kids fight them. But people don’t go downhill skiing without a helmet and goggles. So we’re trying to encourage awareness about how important it is to wear helmets while biking.
Joanne Spitz: We’re also looking for ways to create support for bicycle infrastructure. People already don’t see bikes. It’s an age-old problem. So the safer and more visible we can make it for riding in terms of safety and access on streets, the better. But it’s also a public awareness thing with our drivers. Not seeing bikes is just like not seeing motorcycles. So we want to promote presence of mind. It’s tough with people texting while driving. The distractions are a problem.
John Gamble: And we really want to continue improving support for infrastructure around sites like schools. So we’re looking at East-West and North-South corridors for bicycles and pedestrians to have safe routes to schools. That makes it easier for cars to know there might be bikes present.
Amy Moore: Then there are still the street crossing issues. We’ve worked with the state to set up crossings in town that are functional. Some work well, while others need work. The crossing at McKee and Route 31 is not ideal. We might have located that one in a different spot and are concerned that crossing as it now stands provides a false sense of security. So some of these issues are ongoing. But that’s our job on the Bicycle Commission. Keep the conversation and education going.
The Batavia Bicycle Commission was created to serve as an advocate in developing legislation to promote and serve bicycling in the City of Batavia.This includes acting as the primary resource to city government on issues, policies and standards related to the Batavia Bicycle Plan and future growth of the Plan. The Commission works with the community at large to help develop educational and informational programs, events and materials to promote safe biking and pedestrianism.