ARE YOU OR SOMEONE YOU KNOW WORKING TO MAKE BICYCLING BETTER IN YOUR COMMUNITY? WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU!
In cities and towns across the U.S., local advocates, elected officials and community members are hard at work accelerating the construction of safe, connected bike infrastructure and increasing access to bicycling.
In honor of those dedicated individuals and organizations, we want to showcase their work, bring attention to their projects, both big and small, and highlight their successes and challenges to provide actionable lessons for other local champions looking to improve bicycling in their communities.
Megan Hottman — the cyclist lawyer — is all about humanizing bicycling and making it more approachable. Whether it's chatting with someone through their passenger window as they’re stopped side-by-side at a red light, chatting with pedestrians on the bike path or any other myriad of encounters she has, Megan believes in her role and responsibility in spreading the bike love by modeling good behavior. As a bike ambassador, she always makes a point to leave everyone with positive feelings about people who ride bikes. As a lawyer, she’s helped with laws, including a bike lane bill that was passed in 2020, as well as educated between 2,000 and 3,000 law enforcement officers along the front range of Colorado. She’s also taught classes to bike shops, teams and clubs, written a book summarizing all 50 states’ laws on bike topics and always has a soft spot for getting new women riders on bikes.
“I've always said bikes can literally save us if we'd let them. They are the answer to so many of our societal ills — mental and physical health crises, wear and tear on our roadways systems, the climate crisis and more. In one bike ride, I can combat depression, anxiety and stress, I breathe fresh air, I get some vitamin D, I see something (always) that makes me feel joy or awe, I get where I need to go, I almost always interact positively with at least one other human, I don't cause any congestion in traffic, I don't contribute to pollution and I didn't spend a dime on fuel. It's literally a WIN on every single front. It's often the best part of my day and I want that for EVERYONE. I know I'm more fearless in where I'll ride than most, so that's why bike lanes and protected bike infrastructure is the solution to making cycling not only safer and more accessible to more people, but also the more efficient way to get around. The more people who ride, the safer cycling becomes."
Jeremy McGhee is a professional athlete, consultant and adaptive mountain bike rider. In 2017, he founded The UnPavement project to counteract the narrative that life for folks with disabilities is relegated to hard, smooth surfaces. Through the project, he creates videos documenting mountain biking trails complete with detailed accessibility information and a customized rating system. This first-of-its-kind resource includes advice on how to best prepare for a ride, as well as a play-by-play of the terrain. Jeremy has worked with the City of San Diego on adaptive signage, documented trails for Mammoth Mountain and is now working with Bentonville, Arkansas on the region’s adaptive trail infrastructure.
“I feel stuck and disconnected from nature because life in a wheelchair is relegated to the pavement, but my bike has expanded my world and enabled me to explore trails. I’ve gotten into some precarious situations out there though and working to locate small updates that can open up more routes to adaptive riders has become my life’s work. A relationship with nature is vital for our mental well-being, and it should not depend on concrete.”
Tangier Wright is the partnership and program manager for the Better Bike Share Partnership, where she works to ensure equitable access to bikeshare systems nationwide. Through the Better Bike Share Partnership, she supports and uplifts the work of organizations across the country who are devoted to making bikeshare more accessible for all people, specifically lower-income and BIPOC communities.
“To me, ‘better’ biking means creating safer bicycle infrastructure, dismantling discriminatory bicycling laws, making biking more affordable and making biking more inclusive. These elements are important to me because if these things exist, more people will get to experience the joy and freedom that comes with bicycling and access bicycling as a practical means of transportation.”
Read more about local champions working to make biking better.
From 2020 to 2021, the Minnesota capital’s City Ratings score increased significantly. There are two major factors that led to St. Paul’s score bump: a series of infrastructure improvements and the citywide lowering of its default speed limits.
Over the last two years, the Texas capital accelerated the buildout of its all ages abilities bike network, completing more than 100 new miles with no signs of slowing down. It complements our interview with Austin Mayor Steve Adler.
These 2021 builds are all more than just bike lanes — they represent political wins, Complete Streets projects and crucial connections that make up comprehensive bike networks.
Check out our Advocacy Academy video series for tips and tricks to improve bicycling in any community.
Most cities have the bits and pieces of good places to ride bikes: A path along a river, some appealing neighborhood streets and maybe a protected bike lane. The trick, though, is to move from individual projects to connecting a biking network that allows people on bikes to travel anywhere in the community without needing to think much about how they will get there. While every street won’t be bike-friendly in the short term, linking a functional bike network is within reach in many places.
Not all bike lanes are created equal, and the proof will be evident by who is using them. Think about who rides bikes in your community: Is it mostly fit and confident athletes? Do you see casual riders, women and families? If not, this might be an indicator that your city lacks a safe, convenient and attractive network, even if you have a system of bike lanes already in place.