NEWS

Bicyclist – and Coalition board member – learns firsthand the destructive consequences of distracted driving


Michael Rifkin

Bicycle Coalition of Maine Board of Directors member Michael Rifkin wrote an op/ed for the Portland Press Herald about his first-hand brush with a distracted driver. His thoughtful and provocative piece makes an important point: distracted driving is inexcusable.

Read it here.

 

 

Maine Walking School Bus Program – Lessons Learned


The Maine Walking School Bus (WSB) Program worked with nine different elementary schools over five years to help them start and run daily WSBs. We learned a few things along the way – check out the Lessons Learned here!

 

National Walk to School Day is Oct. 10th!


Hundreds of Maine school children will walk or bike to school with family members, school staff and volunteers in celebration of National Walk to School Day on October 10th. Organized events are planned at schools across the state throughout October, which is National Walk to School Month.

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 planned Walk & Bike to School activities this fall:

  • Auburn, Walton School
  • Bangor, Downeast School
  • Bangor, Vine Street School
  • Brunswick, Coffin School
  • Brunswick, Harriet Beecher Stowe Elementary School
  • Camden-Rockport Middle School
  • Eagle Lake Elementary / Jr High School
  • Fort Kent Elementary School
  • Fort Kent, Valley Rivers Middle School
  • Fort Kent Community High School
  • Howland, Hichborn Middle School
  • Kingfield Elementary School
  • Lewiston, Geiger Elementary
  • North Anson, Carrabec Community School
  • Norway, Guy E. Rowe Elementary School
  • Portland, East End Community School
  • Portland, Harrison Lyseth Elementary School
  • Portland, Lincoln Middle School
  • Portland, Lyseth Elementary School
  • Saint Francis Elementary School
  • South Portland, Memorial Middle School
  • Wallagrass Elementary School
  • Waterville, Albert S. Hall School
  • York, Village Elementary School

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

 

Maine Records Its First Bicycling Fatality of 2018


August 9, 2018 (Portland, ME) –  Maine recorded its first bicycle fatality of 2018, when Laila Al-Matrouk, 15, was hit and killed in a motor vehicle/bicycle crash on Sunday, August 5, in Belfast. 

“The Bicycle Coalition of Maine extends its deepest sympathies to Laila’s family and friends, and we remind all users to watch out for each other, and to drive, walk and bike in a safe fashion,” Bicycle Coalition of Maine Assistant Director Jim Tasse said.

As the state’s leading group promoting bicycling and walking safety, the Coalition routinely monitors crash reports for incidents that involve bicyclists or pedestrians. According to Coalition records, this is the first fatality of a person on a bike in Maine in 2018. There were two bicycle fatalities in 2017.

The Coalition does not have all the details on this incident, and cannot comment on it specifically. However, in general these kinds of incidents should remind all users of Maine’s roads to watch for other users at all times, drive at a reasonable and safe speed for conditions, obey traffic laws, and never drive, walk, or bicycle distracted or under the influence of alcohol or other drugs.

The Coalition will continue to monitor the circumstances surrounding this incident for information that will improve roadway safety for all users.  

 

Citing Concerns For Rider Safety, Bicycle Coalition of Maine Cancels 2018 Maine Lobster Ride


Forecasts Calling for Heavy Rains, High Winds, Low Visibility and an Increasing Chance of Lightning Forced the Difficult Decision

July 20, 2018 – (PORTLAND, Maine) – Out of an abundance of caution and concern for the safety of the riders who signed up to participate in this year’s Maine Lobster Ride, the Bicycle Coalition of Maine has made the difficult decision to cancel this year’s ride.

“We’ve been watching the forecasts closely, hoping that conditions would improve, but instead they’ve gone the other way,” Coalition Executive Director John Williams said. “We cannot, in good conscience, put riders in harm’s way and that’s what we’d be doing if we went ahead with the Lobster Ride, given the forecasts.”

This year’s Maine Lobster Ride – which was to be the final Lobster Ride hosted by the Coalition – was scheduled for Sunday, July 22, at the Camden Snow Bowl, with the first riders departing at 7 a.m. The National Weather Service forecast is predicting heavy rains with the strong likelihood of a thunderstorm for Sunday.

Camden/Rockport Police Chief Randy Gagne called the decision to cancel difficult to make, but one that he fully supports.

“The safety of all riders is the top priority,” Gagne said. “The potential for accidents would increase with the inclement weather. Visibility would be severely limited for both bicyclist and the motoring public. I believe fully this is the right call.”

Nonetheless, Williams said, the decision was not easily made.

“We were looking forward to ending our participation in the Lobster Ride on a high note,” Williams said, “but the safety of the riders is absolutely our highest concern and we simply cannot afford to ignore these warnings and hope things blow over. It’s a difficult decision, but based on the facts that we have in front of us, one that we have to make.”

 

How Do We Get More Women to Ride Bicycles? Plus, US Bike Route One, Some Changes at the Bicycle Coalition of Maine, the Maine Lobster Ride and #BikeJoy


Bicycle Coalition of Maine Podcast hosts Kierie Piccininni and Frank Gallagher in the studio.

In this free-flowing episode, Frank and Kierie talk about the most fun they had on a bicycle this week, explore the notion of how – and why – to encourage women to get into cycling, contemplate riding the length of US Bike Route One in Maine, and take a deep dive into the history of American roads, which were ultimately co-opted by motor vehicles when cars came on the scene.

 

Alternative Bike Route for Route 1 Yarmouth During Bridge Construction


As construction continues on the replacement of the Route 1 bridge that spans Main Street in Yarmouth, MaineDOT and the Bicycle Coalition of Maine are recommending an alternative route that takes bicyclists away from construction directly under the bridge.

Bicyclists should consider this recommended alternative route until the project is completed next year. 

This $4.1 million bridge replacement is expected to be completed in the summer of 2019 and will feature a 5-foot paved sidewalk on the east side of Route 1 and a new 10-foot multi-path use on its west. New lighting, railings and illuminated crosswalks will be installed to ensure safety. The new bridge will also have an extra foot of clearance underneath on Main Street.

 

Bicycle Coalition of Maine Names 2018 BikeMaine Grant Recipients


The Bicycle Coalition of Maine today announced Main Street Skowhegan, Mahoosuc Pathways, and Kingfield Trail Builders as the recipients of this year’s BikeMaine Grants, funded by the proceeds from the organization’s annual cycling tour, BikeMaine.

“BikeMaine was conceived as an event that would use cycling as an economic benefit tool for local communities,” BikeMaine Ride Director MaryBeth Luce said. “The BikeMaine grants will directly support these organizations’ efforts to make their communities more bike and pedestrian friendly.”

Main Street Skowhegan will receive $10,000, Mahoosuc Pathways will receive $3,250, and Kingfield Trail Builders will receive $3,025 to fund their projects.

Main Street Skowhegan will use the funding to expand a 5-kilometer loop in the Run of River Whitewater Recreation Area so it can accommodate cyclists as well as pedestrians and become suitable for four-season use. Main Street Skowhegan Executive Director Kristina Cannon said the newly expanded loop will eventually incorporate a robust network of single-track off-road trails for mountain bikers, as well.

“Trail development is a major part of the proposed Run of River Recreation Area, and our intention is to grow our downtown trail system to 300 acres, an effort that will complement the future whitewater park in the Kennebec gorge,” Cannon said.

Mahoosuc Pathways Executive Director Gabe Perkins said his organization, based in Bethel, will apply the funding to the improvement of mountain bike trails at the Crescent Park School.

“We can’t think of too many elementary schools with sustainably designed and built mountain bike trails and that’s what made this project so attractive to us,” Perkins said. “Not only will it be a well built trail for students and community members, but it could also attract more people to our community who are looking at trail-based recreation as a deciding factor in where to relocate.”

Kingfield Trail Builders plans to use the grant money to improve non-motorized trails and trail connections, install shared bike-lane markings, and add bikes racks in key locations around Kingfield.

“Kingfield Trail Builders is thrilled to receive this grant from the Bicycle Coalition of Maine,” spokesperson Polly MacMichael said. “We are excited to partner with the Kingfield community as we work toward our goal to make Kingfield a safe and fun place for bicyclists and pedestrians alike.”

BikeMaine is a week-long celebration of Maine’s people, places, culture, and food, and moves to a different region of the state each year. BikeMaine 2018, the Bicycle Coalition of Maine’s signature event, takes place from Sept. 8 to Sept. 15. Dubbed Acadia In the St. John Valley – La Terre Entre Deux, this year’s event begins and ends in Presque Isle, with overnight stops in Caribou, Madawaska (two nights), Fort Kent (two nights), and St. Agatha.

The 2018 awards represent the third year of BikeMaine grant funding. The Town of Gardiner received the inaugural BikeMaine Grant, in the amount of $12,300, to fund the extension of the Cobbossee Trail, which connects the Kennebec River Trail to the town’s historic Cobbossee Corridor. The Washington County Council of Governments and the City of Bath received last year’s grants, which helped to fund bike repair kiosks along the Bold Coast Bikeway and a pump-track for Bath students, respectively.

Skowhegan and Kingfield were host communities for last year’s BikeMaine event, and Bethel was a BikeMaine host community for the 2015 BikeMaine event.

 

2018 Maine Women’s Ride – Sunday, June 10, 2018 – Freeport, Maine


On Sunday, June 10, the Bicycle Coalition of Maine hosted the 2018 Maine Women’s Ride.

The weather was fantastic. The rides were amazing. The food was great, and the power of nearly 600 women and girls riding en masse was in full effect.

Photographer Bill Muldoon, who’s also a member of the Coalition’s Board of Directors, documented the event and was kind enough to share his images with us.

 

 

Maine Police to Target Drivers Who Put Cyclists, Pedestrians At Risk


WHO: Southern Maine Law Enforcement Agencies and the Bicycle Coalition of Maine

WHAT: 2018 Vulnerable User Enforcement Day targeting drivers who put others at risk

WHEN: Wednesday, June 13

WHERE: Various locations throughout southern Maine

WHY: 2017 was a deadly year for pedestrians in Maine. To help reduce the number of crashes that kill or injure pedestrians, bicyclists and other vulnerable users of Maine roads, southern Maine law enforcement agencies will carry out a coordinated operation tomorrow targeting drivers and cyclists who put others at risk. The operation will specifically focus on motorists speeding, driving distracted, ignoring crosswalks or the “3 foot rule,” as well as vulnerable users riding the wrong way, ignoring stop signs and other traffic control devices, or jaywalking. Participating agencies include: Auburn, Falmouth, Portland, Scarborough, South Portland, and Westbrook Police Departments, as well as the Maine State Police.

Vulnerable User Enforcement Action Plan

Vulnerable User Enforcement Reference Guide

Results from 2017 Vulnerable User Enforcement Action