Much to be Thankful For

As the New Year approaches, it is a time to reflect and give thanks for a great season of bicycle riding.  Bike Gaithersburg’s last Kidical Mass ride of the season was held on November 8th.  Our sister group, Kidical Mass Rockville joined us for our annual Tweed and Fleece ride as we rode through the Kentlands and Lakelands neighborhood.  After the ride, we had lunch at Gazebo and talked about the challenges of family bicycling particularly making bicycling safe.  We agreed that there is much work that can be done in Gaithersburg and Rockville and discussed ways that we could work together to improve bicycle infrastructure and connectivity in our communities.

Our second season of Kidical Mass rides gave us an opportunity to meet many families that are just as excited about bicycle riding as we are.  The rides highlighted safe bicycling connections that already exist between communities such as Kentlands/Lakelands and Crown Farm and Rio.  Our main focus has been to highlight places that can be easily accessed by bicycle within the current network and to identify gaps that could be filled to provide better connectivity.

Bike Gaithersburg provided education and outreach at various community events.  We were fortunate to partner with the City of Gaithersburg on their first annual bike rodeo.  Safety skills training, information sharing, and tune-ups were provided.  At the annual Kentlands Day event, Bike Gaithersburg provided free bicycle valet service to show that third modes of transportation should be considered viable options at community events.  These events including Oktoberfest provided great opportunities for networking with the community at large.

Recently, we participated in Washington Area Bicyclist Association’s (WABA) Future of Family Biking Town Hall.  WABA has made a commitment to do more to support families that bike and work to inspire more families to bike.  Family biking advocates throughout the region shared their experiences.  The group identified key challenges including the need for better infrastructure and connectivity, information sharing, and engaging families. Bike Gaithersburg looks forward to working on this initiative over the next year.

Over the last year, Bike Gaithersburg has provided feedback to the City of Gaithersburg on its Bike Master Plan.  We are pleased to see that the City has taken some steps in a positive direction by placing sharrows on some low level traffic streets, creating a bicycle connection between Quince Orchard Park and Muddy Branch Road along the Izaak Walton property and overall commitment to bicycle facilities in their Master Plan.  However, more bicycle infrastructure needs to be added to create safe connections throughout the community.  In addition to better infrastructure, transportation policies that focus on all users including motorists, pedestrians, bicyclists, and public transits need to be adopted.  The recent death of Andrew Malizio highlights the importance of policies such as Vision Zero.  Vision Zero places the main burden for safety on system design because it recognizes human weaknesses and low tolerance to mechanical force.  In the coming year, Bike Gaithersburg plans to advocate that the City of Gaithersburg adopt such a policy.

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