NEWS

BikeMaine 2017 is Sold Out!


The “Pathway to the Peaks” Tour Through Western and Central Maine, Limited to 400 Riders, Has Reached Capacity but Volunteers Are Still Welcome

March 21, 2017 – (PORTLAND, Maine) – The fifth annual BikeMaine ride has sold out and is no longer accepting registrations from prospective riders, although people interested in volunteering in some capacity are still welcome to sign on, the event’s organizers announced today.

“BikeMaine is an opportunity to showcase the splendor and natural beauty of this region of Maine, along with the people and culture, and it’s become one of the most popular rides in the state,” BikeMaine Event Director Zach Schmesser said. “It’s a very special ride, and we’re proud to work alongside the people who live and work in the BikeMaine communities and our sponsors to create one of the best biking experiences that can be had anywhere in the world.”

BikeMaine is a fully-supported, seven-day cycling tour organized by the Bicycle Coalition of Maine, with Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield as the presenting sponsor.

“Clearly this is a very special ride, showcasing why we are so fortunate to work and live here in Maine. We’re proud to again be the presenting sponsor of this event, which is a great combination of our focus on fitness and commitment to the communities we serve,” said Dan Corcoran, president of Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Maine. “We wish all the riders the best and welcome all of those who will come from out of state to experience all the great things Maine’s communities and people have to offer.”

The Coalition is the statewide voice of cyclists and pedestrians. Formed in 1992, the Coalition continues to lead the effort to make Maine better for bicycling and walking by protecting the rights and safety of cyclists and pedestrians through education, advocacy, legislation and encouragement.

This year’s ride, dubbed, “Pathway to the Peaks,” will be held from September 9-16 and make stops in Skowhegan, Pittsfield, Kingfield, Rangeley, Hartford and Farmington. Participation is limited to 400 riders. Approximately two-thirds of BikeMaine riders are from out of state, with 20 percent reporting they have never been to Maine.

Schmesser said that even though registration for BikeMaine riders is full, people can still participate as a volunteer.

“Volunteers are every bit as important to BikeMaine as the riders, and we know our volunteers have just as much fun as the participants riding the route each day. They help with all aspects of the ride,” Schmesser said. “If you missed out on registering as a rider, you can still enjoy all that BikeMaine has to offer by volunteering.”

Prospective volunteers can sign up online at the BikeMaine website: ride.bikemaine.org.

Since 2013, BikeMaine has pumped nearly $1.7 million into the local economies of the regions where past events were located. Last year’s sold-out ride in Downeast Maine contributed $626,000 in direct economic impact, including $400,000 spent by riders during the ride, and $226,000 spent by the Coalition to produce the event, which includes most meals for the participants. Whenever possible, food is purchased from Maine farms, fishermen and lobstermen, highlighting Maine products and local services, Schmesser said.

The BikeMaine daily schedule is developed to allow riders to enjoy a carefully curated ride each morning, while leaving time to explore the hospitable and welcoming host communities each afternoon. Many local businesses, lodging establishments, bars, restaurants and gift shops in the past have reported record sales around BikeMaine’s visit to their communities.

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About BikeMaine

Founded in 2012, BikeMaine is a fully-supported, seven-day cycling tour organized by the Bicycle Coalition of Maine. The tour takes a different course every year. Routes traverse uncrowded back roads, looping through small towns and scenic areas along the coast and inland. The event was founded to promote the state as a bicycling destination and to use cycling as an economic development tool for local communities. Proceeds from the tour go to support bicycle advocacy in Maine. To learn more, visit ride.bikemaine.org.

About the Bicycle Coalition of Maine

The Bicycle Coalition of Maine is the statewide voice of cyclists and pedestrians. Since 1992, the Bicycle Coalition of Maine has led the effort to make Maine better for bicycling and walking by protecting the rights and safety of cyclists and pedestrians through education, advocacy, legislation and encouragement. We support biking and walking for health, transportation, and recreation.  For more information: bikemaine.org.

 

Bike/Ped Sign Project a Step Closer to Permanence in Bangor


A Demonstration Project Put Together by the Bicycle Coalition of Maine and Other Bangor Bike/Ped Advocacy Groups Moves Forward at City Hall

February 24, 2016 – (BANGOR, MAINE) A temporary project that showed the powerful impact clear signage can have on Bangor’s walkability may become permanent after a key City Council committee gave it the thumbs-up.

“By making it easier for people and policy makers to imagine their communities more walkable and bikeable, we can help people see the possibilities and make change less intimidating,” Bicycle Coalition of Maine Executive Director Nancy Grant said. “The likelihood of this project becoming permanent demonstrates how powerful this can be.”

The Bicycle Coalition of Maine’s Imagine People Here program creates demonstration projects to show how communities can become more bike- and pedestrian-friendly. Last July, the Coalition, working with Bangor’s Walk-n-Roll, the Friends of the Lower Kenduskeag Stream (FOLKS), and several other organizations, installed 52 temporary signs along the two-mile River City Trail. The signage linked the Cross Insurance Center, Waterfront Park, Gomez Park, Pickering Square, West Market Square, Norumbega Park, and the waterfront to create walkable and bikeable connections between Downtown District destination points.

On Feb. 7, the members of the Bangor City Council’s Infrastructure Committee heard the final report on the project’s impact and voted to include funding for permanent signage in the city’s regular budget.

If the permanent installation is approved by the full council, the new signs could go up as early as July.

 

Bicycle Coalition of Maine Announces Annual Award Winners


The Bicycle Coalition of Maine has announced the winners of its 2017 Annual Awards, honoring eight Maine individuals and organizations for their commitment to making Maine better for biking and walking in 2016.

“Each of these winners exemplifies what is best about cycling in Maine,” Bicycle Coalition of Maine Executive Director Nancy Grant said. “Their commitment to their communities, and to making Maine a safer and better place for both cyclists and walkers should not only be recognized, but celebrated. We are proud to honor their efforts.”

This year’s award winners are:

  • Crystal Hitchings: Sally Jacobs Community Spokesperson Award – named after the legendary bicycle advocate from Orono and awarded to a local advocate who has made a significant difference to biking and walking in his or her community. Hitchings received the award for her work on the new Bold Coast Scenic Bikeway, a pilot project that could become a model for developing Scenic Bikeways across the state.
  • Kris Clark: Jeff Miller Spirit of Cycling Award – honoring the first executive director of the Bicycle Coalition of Maine and awarded to a Mainer who demonstrates Jeff’s joy in all aspects of biking, Clark received the award for his years of work with the Community Cycling Club of Portland and his continuing support of area bike-related non-profit organizations.
  • Anne Douglass: Next Generation Award – awarded to a person who instills a love, interest and appreciation of bikes in the next generation, Douglass received the award for her commitment to improving safety for pedestrians and cyclists on Deer Isle. (more specifics re: education)
  • The Law Enforcement Collaborative: Just Do It Award – awarded to a Maine individual or organization who exhibits leadership in public service around biking and walking, the Law Enforcement Collaborative received the award for its work to improve bicycle and pedestrian law enforcement in southern Maine communities.
  • Peter Garrett: Harry Faust Leadership Award – named after one of the Coalition’s most dedicated and effective Board Presidents, awarded to a Mainer who has been a true leader in his community to promote more biking, Garrett received the award for his continued advocacy on behalf of cyclists and pedestrians in the Waterville-Winslow area. (more specifics re: trails)
  • Kris Sornberger: Muddy Wheel Award – awarded to a leader in Mountain Biking in Maine, Sornberger received the award for his work to develop the mountain bike trail system in the Orono area.
  • Scott Spaulding: Volunteer of the Year Award – given to a volunteer who has contributed extraordinary time, effort and energy to the Coalition and its mission, Spaulding received the award for his outstanding effort in support of the Coalition’s many different events, including 4 years of volunteering for the full week of BikeMaine.
  • Ransom Consulting: Businesses for Better Bicycling Award – awarded to a Maine business that encourages and supports bicycling within their business and community, Ransom Consulting, a diversified engineering and consulting firm, joined the Bicycle Coalition as a business member in early 2016 and immediately became immersed in the Coalition’s advocacy work. Ransom employees lent expertise to the Coalition’s Imagine People Here program last year, helping design and implement temporary infrastructure installations. In addition to Imagine People Here, Ransom also sponsored the Coalition’s Community Spokes programs in 2016, as well as the Great Maine Bike Swaps.
 

Smart Tips for Winter Walking & Bicycling


Parents: Help your children dress properly, stay healthy, and travel safely during Maine’s winter months. Staying warm and dry will help your student focus and perform better in the classroom!


Dress for the Cold

  • Add an extra layer: Teach your kids how to put together outfits with multiple layers, so they can remove one or two after they get to school. Make sure clothing is comfortable and easy to put on and remove. Be sure your child has a good place to store discarded layers during the school day so they can be put back on when it’s time to go home.
  • Protect exposed skin: When winter wind and colder temperatures arrive, make sure kids are fully equipped with a winter hat, gloves, and a scarf to keep extremities warm. Make sure your children have appropriate shoes/boots to keep feet dry and warm.
  • Get some traction – Sidewalks may be ice or snow-covered. Make sure children’s shoes or boots have ample traction to grip slippery sidewalks.
  • Pack a backup – Consider packing an extra pair of socks or even a full change of clothes in your child’s backpack, in case he or she gets wet on the way to or during the school day. Proper snow pants and jackets can also help keep your child comfortable.
  • The ultimate accessory: the water bottle – We don’t often associate cold-weather with dehydration, however our bodies don’t get as hot and sweat evaporates more rapidly in the cold dry air. Thus, we’re tricked into thinking we aren’t losing fluids as rapidly as a hot summer day. To avoid dehydration, make sure children are drinking plenty of water before, during, and after school – don’t forget to hydrate!

Walk and Ride with Extra Care

We encourage you to share these tips for students, staff, and families walking and bicycling to and from school – important in general, but especially during the winter!
Walkers and bicyclists should wear reflective clothing and bright colors, and use lights at night. Don’t dress like the side of the road: white clothing and snow are a dangerous combo!

  • Walkers should always walk facing traffic when a sidewalk is not present.
  • Walkers should make eye contact with motorists and make sure all traffic has stopped before crossing the road.
  • Bicyclists must use a headlight and rear reflector or taillight at night, by law.
  • Bicyclists must also follow all traffic laws: obeying stops, giving turn signals, riding with traffic (NOT against traffic), stopping for stopped school buses, etc.
    beasafebikedriver08082016-page-001 beasafewalker_08082016-page-001

Reminders to Motorists

For those of us who are also motorists, take special care with walkers and bicyclists during the winter months:

  • Look out for pedestrians at all times. Be especially aware of those who may be forced to walk in the street because of snow banks.
  • Yield to pedestrians entering any marked crosswalk. By law, motorists must give at least 3 feet when passing a bicyclist or pedestrian. Do not try to pass when there isn’t enough room.
  • Be aware that bicyclists will sometimes need to take more of the driving lane because of snow banks and winter road debris.
  • Refrain from distracted driving. Texting, talking on the phone and eating are all forms of distracted driving.
  • Above all: pay attention and slow down in villages, neighborhoods, and school areas.
    safetytips_bicyclists-page-002 safetytips_pedestrian-page-002
 

Acadia National Park Transportation Concepts Position


Acadia National Park (ANP) is one of Maine’s BEST places to bicycle, featuring Carriage Paths, the Park Loop Road and many other attractions.

The park is facing some extreme transportation challenges, namely, very large numbers of motor vehicles and buses on roads originally built for fewer and smaller vehicles. Inadequate parking and excessive traffic hinders visitors’ ability to enjoy places like Cadillac Mountain and Sand Beach and create hazards for all users, including cyclists.
As a result, the park is undergoing a major transportation planning project.

After receiving and reviewing extensive public imput in 2015, the ANP staff developed and recently released their “preliminary concepts” for managing increased visitation, traffic, parking, and public safety to ensure a quality visitor experience.  The document contains 5 concepts for the Mount Desert Island portion of the park (including one status-quo) and 2 for the Schoodic area. Two of the MDI proposals also include limiting when bicycilsts can use parts of the park’s paved roads.

The park is to be commended for their public process and it’s essential that all bicyclists participate in this process.

After reviewing the concepts, we have developed the following position:

  • The Bicycle Coalition of Maine is completely opposed to limiting access for bicyclists in the park.  Bicyclists take up very little space and cause minimal wear and tear to the roads. They are carbon free, quiet, don’t cause congestion and are NOT the root cause of the transportation problems in the park.
  • We do encourage limits to the number and size of private and commercial vehicles in the park during peak times.  Reservations are standard for restaurants, hotels and air or bus fares and would be useful in this context.
  • We also support the incentivisation and expansion of the use of the Island Explorer buses to reduce the numbers of private vehicles in the park.
  • We are opposed to two-way traffic on the entire Loop Road.  This will increase danger for bicyclists.

Please show the ANP how important you think bicycling is for the park. Comment via the official website by November 30th.  It’s essential that there is more access and safer cycling in the final plan.

Click here for the official comment website.

Click here for a link to the concepts.

 

2016 Annual Appeal


CLICK HERE TO GIVE THE GIFT OF SAFER BICYCLING

Dear Friend:

What steps do you take to keep yourself safe when riding? Perhaps you’re someone who wears hi-visibility clothing, or always uses hand signals when turning? Maybe you use lights year-round or consistently make eye contact with drivers. These safe riding practices are all tools in each rider’s saddlebag, and along with consistent, legal riding techniques, will keep us all safer. Another one of these tools is a bicycle helmet. While wearing a helmet will not singularly keep you safe, in the event of a crash, it does provide up to an 88% reduction in head and brain injury, and can very well save your life.

We need your help this year-end because not every Maine family can afford to purchase a bicycle helmet for their child. The sad truth is that not every young bike rider can afford the basic equipment that helps keep them safe. We want to ensure that all children who are in need have access to high quality bicycle helmets and proper bicycle safety education, so they can develop a healthy, active lifestyle, and benefit from biking as a lifelong sport and mode of transportation. Your gift this year-end can help make this goal a reality.

screen-shot-2016-11-10-at-2-46-06-pmWe pride ourselves on our effective and far-reaching education program. Through this program, we have distributed over 5,000 FREE helmets to children around the state at community events, schools, bike rodeos and health fairs. We have seized opportunities to educate young riders about safe bike driving and to properly fit them with a helmet.

At the beginning of this year, we learned suddenly that the funding for our Helmet Program was no longer available. Historically, we have distributed over 1,600 helmets annually to children in need. This year, we found ourselves without the necessary funds to purchase helmets on the same scale as in previous years. Over the past 10 months alone, we have fielded requests from partners, schools and other organizations for over 1,000 helmets that we cannot fulfill due to lack of funding for the program.

We need your help to revitalize our Helmet Program for 2017.
It costs just $12 to equip a child with a helmet and educate them about how to ride their bicycle safely and legally. Your donation to this program will help protect some of the most vulnerable users of the road, and ensure that children can enjoy riding their bikes with the basic protective gear we take for granted.

During this season of giving, give the gift of safer bicycling. Please make a year-end contribution today and help us reach our goal of $12,000, or 1,000 helmets that will protect the heads of the next generation of bicyclists.

Most sincerely,
Nancy Grant
Executive Director
Bicycle Coalition of Maine

CLICK HERE TO GIVE THE GIFT OF SAFER BICYCLING

 

A Successful National Walk to School Day!


Hundreds of Maine school children walked or biked to school with family members, school staff and volunteers in celebration of National Walk to School Day on October 5th. Organized events were planned at schools across the state throughout October, which is always National Walk and Bike to School Month, and some schools continue walking and biking into the winter!  Check out our blog for photos and highlights: Walk & bike inspiration from across the state!

The Maine Safe Route to School Program can support your event(s) with event announcement posters, walking school bus posters, and incentive stickers. To request these, please register your event here.

Here are the Maine schools that have been in touch with us about their Walk & Bike to School activities:

  • Auburn, The Walton School – Walk to School Day in October
  • Bangor, The Downeast School – Daily Walking School Bus to school all fall
  • Brunswick, Coffin & Harriet Beecher Stowe Elementary Schools – Monthly Walk & Bike to School Days through the year
  • Easton Elementary School – Walk at School event this fall
  • Ellsworth Elementary Middle School – Daily Walking School Bus all fall
  • Howland, Hitchborn Middle School – 1 Mile Walk/Run the first week in October
  • Kingfield Elementary School – Walk & Bike to School Day in October
  • Lewiston, Farwell Elementary School – National Walk to School Day on Oct. 5
  • Lincoln – Ella P. Burr & Mattanawcook Junior High Schools – Weekly walking school bus to school on Wednesdays Sept-Oct and May-June
  • North Anson, Carrabec Community School – monthly walking school bus to school this fall
  • Norway, Guy E. Rowe Elementary School – Daily Walking School Bus on one route to & from school all fall
  • Old Town Elementary School – twice monthly Walk to School Days this fall
  • Portland, East End Community School – Daily Walking School Bus to school & National Walk to School Day celebration; Lincoln Middle School – Bike and Walk to School Days in Oct & May; Lyseth Elementary School – Footloose Fridays starting Oct 14th; Peaks Island Elementary School – Walking field trips this fall
  • Princeton, Indian Township School – weekly Walk to School days all year
  • Rangeley Lakes Regional School – Walk & Bike to School Day in Oct
  • Scarborough Pleasant Hill School – Walk N Wheel Fridays from Sept. – June
  • Skowhegan, Margaret Chase Smith School – Walking School Bus to school in Oct
  • Solon, Elementary School – Walk to School Days in Oct
  • South Portland, Memorial Middle School – Walk & Bike to School Day Oct. 4
  • Strong Elementary School – Walk to School Days in fall & spring
  • Warren Community School – weekly Walk to School Days on Fridays in fall & spring
  • Waterville – Albert S. Hall School – Daily Walking School Bus all fall

We hope to see you walking or biking to school this season!

 

Bicycling Advocates Warn of Rise in Bike and Pedestrian Accidents


This article originally appeared on MainePublic.org

BANGOR, Maine – A Maine group that promotes bicycling says it’s noticed an uptick in the number of fatal crashes between automobiles and bicyclists and pedestrians in recent weeks. Three people have been killed in separate incidents since Oct. 10, bringing the total of fatalities so far this year to 11 – on pace with last year. The Maine Bicycle Coalition’s James Tasse says dangerous road design, distracted driving, and bikers and walkers not paying attention all play a role. “There are a lot of factors at play,” he says. “Just goes to show that our roads are dangerous places where people really need to be doing the best they can to look out for others in all situations.” Last year, a record 19 people were killed on Maine roadways while walking. Tasse says the coming months of fading daylight historically show the biggest upswing bike and pedestrian fatalities.

 

Safety gets spruced up for a day in streets of Waterville


This article originally appeared on PressHerald.com

BY MADELINE ST. AMOUR

WATERVILLE — What looked like colorful fall decor popped up Wednesday morning near busy intersections on Main and Front streets here.

The hay bales, pumpkins and flowers weren’t just to celebrate fall, though. They were actually curb extensions, also known as “bump-outs,” used to increase pedestrian safety at crosswalks.

At the intersection of Front and Temple streets, the hay bales and pumpkins were set out just outside the curb. The extension served a few purposes, said Jim Tasse, assistant director of the Bicycle Coalition of Maine.

While the curb extension did not change the width of the driving lanes, it did change the perception of width, slowing traffic. It also forced cars to make better turns and provided space for pedestrians to step out farther and look for oncoming traffic, Tasse said. “With just a few hay bales, you can see that instead of coming through here at 40 (mph), people are coming through at 25,” he said.

Continue reading

 

The future is in good hands


This article originally appeared in the Ellsworth American

Dear Editor:

People like to complain about young folks. But during and after BikeMaine’s visit to Lubec I received a lovely surprise. We had youngsters from the Lubec Consolidated School, the Campobello Island Consolidated School and the Cobscook Community High School Program helping throughout the BikeMaine Village — some with luggage and setting up and taking down tents, others with serving meals, and, of course, some as greeters and cheerleaders as the riders arrived.

Adults riding with BikeMaine as well as locals working with the students took the time to tell me how wonderful the youngsters were — polite, respectful and always helpful. Watching their joy while setting up or taking down the tents, carrying luggage, serving dinner and breakfast and interacting with the riders showed what an asset they are to our communities. I send all the students who helped us a heartfelt thumbs-up for their wonderful contribution to BikeMaine’s visit to Lubec!

Ruta Jordans

Lubec