NEWS

Bicycle Coalition of Maine Names New Executive Director


John S. Williams, a Seasoned Executive and an Avid Cyclist, Is Expected to Take the Reins on Sept. 25

The Bicycle Coalition of Maine has named John S. Williams, shown here on a cycling trip in Austria, the organization’s new Executive Director.

August 23, 2017 – (PORTLAND, Maine) – After an extensive, nationwide search, the Bicycle Coalition of Maine has selected John S. Williams, an experienced leader with a deep love of cycling, as the organization’s new Executive Director.

“In its 25-year history, the Coalition has benefited from strong executive leadership,” Coalition Board of Directors President Phil Coffin said. “Given his impressive record of success to date, we are confident that John, along with the Coalition’s staff and board, will continue to build the organization and inspire the Maine community to make Maine a better place for bicycling and walking.”

Williams, who holds both a Bachelor’s and a Master’s degree from the University of Maine at Orono, served in the administration of Gov. Angus King, as the Executive Director of the Maine Waste Management Agency and, subsequently, the Executive Director of the Maine Land Use Regulation Commission.

From 2002 through 2015, he served as President of the Maine Pulp and Paper Association, developing sound policies at the state and federal levels to benefit the industry and its employees while protecting Maine’s natural resources and promoting sustainability. In January 2015, Williams opened Great Salt Bay Consulting, providing strategic communications, government relations, and public relations services to clients in the forest products industry.

Williams is also a long-time board member and former Treasurer of Maine Family Planning, which provides affordable reproductive health care in many clinics in Maine, and a former board member and President of the Maine Lakes Conservancy Institute. He’s also been a member of the Coalition for many years, as well as Adventure Cycling and the Kennebec Land Trust.

Williams is a passionate cyclist who has biked through many states, several Canadian provinces, the Netherlands, Croatia, Austria, Cornwall, Ireland, and Slovenia, and participated in several high-profile bicycle tour events.

“I’m honored by the Board of Directors’ decision, and I look forward to helping the organization grow and thrive in the coming years,” Williams said.

 

We’re Hiring!


The Bicycle Coalition of Maine is seeking a dynamic, self-directed individual to provide assistance coordinating and expanding our mission-central work with local bicycle and pedestrian advocates around the state. The position will manage our nationally recognized Community Spokes Program, mobilizing, training, and supporting local champions who want to become community leaders for bicycle, pedestrian, and active transportation issues. The Community Advocacy Coordinator will support and guide Community Spokes and other local advocates, giving them the resources they need to become the driving force behind their local bicycle/pedestrian committees and similar groups around the state.

This position will be responsible for:

  • Coordinating ongoing support and technical assistance on bike/ped initiatives to Community Spokes, local bike/ped committees and other advocates through trainings, regional meetings, “mutual aid” webinars, and regular phone and in-person meetings.
  • Recruiting new Community Spokes, assisting in their training, and helping support the creation of community-based committees.
  • Integrating advocacy and Community Spokes initiatives with other Coalition projects and programs, including events, the Maine Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Education Program, and the Safe Routes to School Program.
  • Supporting legislative initiatives and advocacy events.
  • Providing logistical and communications support for MaineDOT Pedestrian Safety Forums.
  • Handling all logistics and assisting in the facilitation of at least two full-day Community Spokes trainings per year.
  • Developing resources and managing content for the Coalition’s Local Advocacy web pages, as well as for print publication.
  • Refining and implementing an annual evaluation system for the Community Spokes Program.
  • Other duties as needed related to local bike/ped advocacy.

The ideal candidate will have demonstrated experience in and knowledge of: community organization and outreach; bike/ped/trail advocacy and programming; transportation policy and bike/ped infrastructure projects; bicycle and pedestrian safety education; bike/ped law; and, public health efforts to promote physical activity. The candidate will also have excellent written and in-person communication skills, a collaborative orientation, experience in meeting facilitation and adult education, and will be comfortable working with a range of technologies. The ideal candidate will be a creative problem solver who is committed to making our Community Spokes Program as impactful as possible.

Some early morning, night meetings and weekends required. Some statewide travel required. Health and other benefits available. Salaried, exempt position.

Please send your cover letter, resume and a list of 3 references, including contact info, to jobs@bikemaine.org by June 14, 2017.

Interviews for qualified candidates will be held on June 27th.  Please leave that day open in your calendar if you are interested.

 

 

 

May 10 is National Bike to School Day


Hundreds of Maine school children will bike or walk to school with family members, school staff and volunteers in celebration of National Bike to School Day on May 10th. Organized events were planned at schools across the state throughout May, which is always National Bike Month.  Check out our blog for photos and highlights from past years: 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, Walton School – Bike to school event
  • Bangor, Abraham Lincoln School – Daily Walking School Bus to school all spring
  • Bangor, Downeast School – Daily Walking School Bus to school all spring
  • Bangor, Vine Street School – Daily Walking School Bus to school all spring
  • Brooks, Morse Memorial Elementary School – Bike & walk to school on May 15
  • Cape Elizabeth, Pond Cove School – Bike to school on May 10
  • Cumberland Center, Greely High School – Bike to school event
  • Cumberland Center, Greely Middle School – Bike to school event
  • Cumberland Center, Mabel I Wilson School – Bike to school event
  • Falmouth Elementary School – “Footloose Fridays” in May & June, everyone walks on school trail loop before starting the school day
  • Gray, Fiddlehead School of Arts & Science – Bike to school event
  • Gray-New Gloucester High School – Bike to school event
  • Gray-New Gloucester Middle School – Bike to school event
  • Gray, Russell School – Bike to school event
  • Lewiston, Farwell School – Daily Walking School Bus to school all spring
  • Lewiston, Geiger Elementary – Bike to school day on May 10
  • Lincoln, Ella P. Burr – Walk and bike to school every Wednesday April-June
  • Monroe Elementary School – Bike to school event
  • Portland, Lincoln Middle School – Bike to school event
  • Portland, Riverton School – Daily Walking School Bus to school all spring
  • Scarborough, Pleasant Hill School – “Walk & Wheel Fridays” all year long + Walk & Bike to School week of May 8th
  • Scarborough Middle School – Bike to school event
  • Sebago Elementary School – Biking every day during recess, 10 bikes available and everyone takes turns
  • Skowhegan, Margaret Chase Smith School – Walk to school event on June 7
  • South Portland, Memorial Middle School – Walk & bike to school on May 10
  • Topsham, Woodside Elementary School – Bike & walk to school
  • Waterville, Albert S. Hall School – Walk to school on June 9
  • Yarmouth Elementary School – Bike To School on May 19

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

 

Thanks To Everyone Who Made The 2017 Great Maine Bike Swap A Huge Success!


There were more than 1,000 bicycles available at the Great Maine Bike Swap on Sunday, April 23, at the University of Southern Maine. (Photo by Vivian Gallagher)

Another Great Maine Bike Swap is in the books.

We’re crunching the numbers now, and we’ll have some statistics to share shortly, but as we work our way through the receipts, one thing is clear: the event was an enormous success!

A big thank you to everyone who helped: all the volunteers who worked so hard to create the best possible experience, our amazing sponsors – WCLZ, Noyes, Hall & Allan, Ransom Consulting, Inc., the Law Offices of Joe Bornstein, GA Gear, USM, AAA Northern New England, Arcadia, the Gorham Grind, and Leonardo’s Pizza – everyone who signed up to sell a bike, and last but certainly not least, everyone who turned out on Sunday to buy a bike.

If you’re interested, we got some great coverage from Maine media: WCSH-TV6, WMTW-TV8, and the Portland Press Herald all did stories.

There’s a great take on the Swap at a blog called Utilitarian Bicycles, too. If you’ve got a minute, check it out. If you’re reading this, you’ll probably enjoy it.

 

Bicycle Coalition of Maine Members, Allies to Engage Legislators In Support of Traffic Safety Education Bill


Proposed Legislation Would Help Reduce Pedestrian and Cyclist Traffic Deaths By Providing One Hour of Traffic Safety Education to Students Each Year

April 7, 2017 – (AUGUSTA, Maine) The Bicycle Coalition of Maine is organizing Traffic Safety Day in Augusta on Tuesday, April 11, to marshal support for proposed legislation that will help cut the number of pedestrians and bicyclists killed each year on Maine roads.

“Too many pedestrians and bicyclists are losing their lives on our roads, and in each case these tragedies are almost entirely preventable,” Coalition Executive Director Nancy Grant said. “The Traffic Safety Education Act will help reduce the unacceptable number of pedestrian and cyclist fatalities in Maine.”

LD 1130, an Act To Provide Traffic Safety Education To Maine Students, is sponsored by Rep. Matthea Daughtry (D-Brunswick) and would ensure that all Maine children in grades two through 12 receive one hour of age-appropriate traffic safety education each year. The bill is scheduled to be heard by the Legislature’s Committee on Education and Cultural Affairs on Tuesday, April 11, at 1 p.m. in Room 202 of the Cross Building in Augusta.

The Coalition’s Traffic Safety Day is intended to help Coalition members and allies learn how to most effectively communicate the facts about the bill and why it is needed to legislators. The day’s events include:

  • A meeting with the Legislature’s Bike/Ped Caucus at the Cross Café (111 Sewall St., Augusta) at 8 a.m. to discuss biking and walking issues.
  • A brief training session on how to effectively communicate with lawmakers, from 9:15-10:30 a.m.
  • Meetings with legislators from 10:45-11:45 a.m. in support of the Traffic Safety Education Act.
  • The legislative hearing at 1 p.m. in Room 202 of the Cross Building in Augusta.

In addition to communicating support for the bill, Grant said, it is also important to note what the legislation will not do: it will have no fiscal impact on Maine schools or extend the school year, nor will it add to the state’s graduation requirements or increase teachers’ workloads; teachers would have the option of using the Coalition’s curriculum – developed by teachers for teachers – or have one of Maine’s certified Traffic Safety Educators make the one-hour presentation to students.

“The Traffic Safety Education Act will help keep our children safe now, when they’re walking or biking to or from school, home or a friend’s house, and in the future,” Grant said. “Children who’ve grown up learning the rules of the road will be safer around pedestrians and cyclists when they get behind the wheel as adults.”

 

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.