I staffed Albuquerque’s bike safety table at a family health fair today. Talking bikes and healthy hearts to motivated people was a good way to start Saturday morning. The fair was hosted by the New Mexico Heart Institute on Johnson Field at the University of New Mexico.
I gave away hundreds of the new 2016 ABQ bike map and learned a lot from talking with citizens who love to ride. I was right across the way from the New Mexico Philharmonic’s table. NMPhil is doing great work, especially with education, outreach and engagement for kids. “Every fall and spring over 17,000 4th and 5th grade students attend live symphony concerts presented by the musicians of the NMPhil in Popejoy Hall”. Albuquerque’s bicycle safety education program has a similar strategy, delivering bicycle education for youth at schools, community centers, public bicycle rodeos, and summer camps. Through the bike safety program this week I helped get over 200 kids on bicycles, instructing them on traffic safety skills to help keep their cycling safe and fun.
Bicycles and music are pathways for building healthier hearts and joyful lives, and are both universal languages that connect people across cultures. I also met a ride leader from the CyclingPeeps, an all women’s cycling group with almost 400 members! Fairs are fun ways to learn, build partnerships, and strengthen networks essential for sustainable living. Safer cycling increases opportunities for everyone to live the healthiest life possible.
The Tour of Utah starts in Zion National Park this August to celebrate the National Park Service Centennial, and to promote cycling as a healthy way of recreating outdoors. This race draws top cyclists from around the world. In 700 plus miles over seven stages, the race highlights Utah’s unique heritage, challenging terrain, beautiful cultures and stunning landscapes.
In this one minute spotlight of Stage One you may have noticed the peloton (the group of cyclists) is crossing the road centerline. This is because the road is closed to public traffic for the racers’ safety. This is the case with most professional races. In amateur races roads usually remain open to the public and cyclists use the right lane. Protection is provided with a rolling enclosure (escort vehicles in front and behind), and intersections are controlled by traffic police while the racers pass through.
Cycling is a great way for Americans to appreciate our national heritage while preserving the integrity of the landscape. Cycling is a solution for “NPS’s dual mission–to prevent ecological injury to parks while simultaneously promoting tourism” (Brinkley, Rightful Heritage). It is exciting to see a cycling event highlighting features that make America unique, and showcasing our cultural identity as a healthy people inspired by our lands. Cycling is becoming as iconic to the American identity as Yellowstone, Yosemite, the Grand Canyon and the colorful canyons of Zion.
David Brinkley, Rightful Heritage: Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Land of America
“Traffic safety solutions must be addressed holistically.” —Vision Zero, Wikipedia
Creating a movement toward healthier streets requires adjusting our expectations. Vision Zero is a multinational road safety project that does just that. It views crashes as preventable and uses a scientific, data-driven approach to identify causes and implement multifaceted solutions that combine education, engineering, planning and enforcement.
Vision Zero sets a goal of safeguarding human life on our streets. Data reveals strategies such as reducing speed limits in areas of high pedestrian activity makes crashes less likely and less severe. Redesigned streets and meaningful behavior change campaigns can create streets that are safe and more vibrant.
The Vision Zero movement is creating more political accountability to synch transportation with priorities in health and sustainability. Los Angeles’s Vision Zero program seeks to design streets that “encourage walking. Research has shown that there is a link between moderate-intensity aerobic activity, like brisk walking, to decrease the incidence of heart disease, diabetes, obesity, depression, and other health problems.” Portland, Oregon’s Vision Zero declares families “deserve safe streets” on which to walk and bike. The clear focus is protecting human lives.
Vision Zero started in Sweden in the 1990’s but more than a dozen U.S. cities have adopted it, and more are joining. Denver’s Mayor joined this year with the Director for Transportation saying “our streets are our most public spaces…our home.” Ask your mayor, city council, and governor to take this measure and increase their commitment to safeguarding the public.
from Vision Zero Network—