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Monthly Archives

May 2018

Self-driving cars: killers on the road? Plus, 10 minutes with the League of American Bicyclists' Bill Nesper, Idaho Stop the insanity, ME Gov. Paul LePage is an avid cyclist, and how to find your perfect ride!

By | Featured Posts, Podcast

Self-driving cars have been hailed as modern-day saviors for our overcrowded roads, but does the reality live up to the hype? Bicycle Coalition of Maine Podcast hosts Kierie Piccininni and Frank Gallagher look past the tech-bro, hard sell and take a thoughtful look at what’s really going on with Automated Vehicles.
The League of American Bicyclists has been on the front line, advocating for bicyclists and anybody who might want to start riding, for more than 100 years. Kierie and Frank caught up with Bill Nesper, the League’s Executive Director, at the New England Bike/Walk Summit in Boston to talk self-driving cars, national bike policies, and much more.
Mention the Idaho Stop, and you’ll almost certainly get a visceral reaction, no matter who you’re talking to. Kierie and Frank take a look at this controversial tactic and what it means for cyclists, pedestrians, and motorists.
Maine Gov. Paul LePage is a lightning rod for controversy. He’s also an ardent cyclist, but that hasn’t necessarily translated into cyclist-friendly policies in his home state. Kierie and Frank explore what needs to change to make Maine better for bicycling.
Finally, learn how to find your perfect ride in Maine, using the Bicycle Coalition of Maine’s new Where To Ride tool.

This will be the last year the Bicycle Coalition of Maine will host the Maine Women's Ride and the Maine Lobster Ride

By | Coalition News, Events, Featured Posts

Perhaps you’ve heard that this is the last year that the Bicycle Coalition of Maine will hold the women’s ride.
That is true.

When we founded the Maine Women’s Ride 17 years ago, there were relatively few opportunities to participate in organized road rides in our state. Today, that landscape is very different, and in that sense Maine is measurably much better for bicycling today that it was. On any given summer weekend there are now several riding events.
So, we have decided to say goodbye to the Maine Womens’ Ride and the Maine Lobster Ride, and refocus our efforts wholeheartedly on how best to deliver on our mission for as many people, in as many parts of the state, as possible. We will have a presence at many other events statewide, and will continue to hold our signature event, BikeMaine. We will also recommit to our role as the leading advocacy and education organization for biking and walking in Maine.
While the Bicycle Coalition will no longer be holding the Women’s Ride, we recognize that there are still few events that are women-centric. We are looking at other opportunities to promote riding for women and children, including working with others who might be willing to host a women-only event in future years, with our help. If you would like to learn more, or offer your thoughts, please email us at info@bikemaine.org.

If you’ve been thinking that this is the year you’re going to ride the Maine Women’s Ride, register now. The final BCM Maine Women’s Ride is just around the corner – Sunday, June 10, in Freeport, Maine – so there’s still time to sign on. Come ride with us, and help us make our final Women’s Ride the best one ever.

We also need volunteers to help us make the final ride a success. We need help in every area, including:

  • Pre-event setup
  • Route setters
  • SAG vehicle drivers
  • Ride leaders
  • Rest stop attendants

Volunteers at the Women’s Ride get a cool t-shirt, free lunch, coffee, and the satisfaction of actively supporting this amazing event.
Whether you’re riding or volunteering, the Women’s Ride is always a lot of fun for everybody. Sign up here to volunteer! And if you have friends who might enjoy the experience, please forward this link to them.

On Bike to Work Day, News Breaks That Maine Gov. Paul LePage Was Hit By a Car While Biking in Florida

By | BikeMaine, Coalition News, Featured Posts, Our Position

Today was Bike to Work Day, and Maine Gov. Paul LePage revealed that he needs shoulder surgery after being struck by a car while he was bicycling in Florida.

When the news broke this morning that Gov. Paul LePage would need shoulder surgery because he’d been hit by a car while bicycling in Florida, our entire staff was out celebrating National Bike to Work Day, encouraging and supporting people who made the choice to commute today by bike instead of driving.
We were, each of us, stunned – and thankful that he wasn’t hurt more seriously. And we were struck by the obvious: this news was breaking on Bike to Work Day.
Gov. LePage is an experienced cyclist. We know this because we’re publishing an interview with him in the next issue of our membership magazine, The Maine Cyclist, in which he talks about how and why he loves to ride.
Beyond that, at the beginning of April the governor recognized us with the Maine Office of Tourism’s Originality Award, and he was on hand at the awards luncheon in Portland to personally bestow the honors. The award recognized our BikeMaine event for its success in boosting economic development by promoting Maine as a destination for bicycle tourism. Before things got underway, we got a chance to chat with him a bit about cycling.
 

Maine Gov. Paul LePage presents the Maine Office of Tourism’s Originality Award to MaryBeth Luce, the Coalition’s BikeMaine Event Director, at the Governor’s Tourism Conference in Portland in April 2018.

He warmed to the topic, and talked in detail about how he loved riding in Jackman when he was younger. But it wasn’t just what he said that rang true, it was how he said it. He got that look in his eye, you know the one; the one that all cyclists get when they’re talking about their favorite rides with someone who’s actually interested and gets it. For the governor, it’s clear that cycling is a very personal thing, and that he is a committed and experienced cyclist.
So here’s our takeaway from all this: if an experienced cyclist like the governor, who apparently was not riding in anything other than a completely legal fashion, can be so casually knocked off his bicycle by a passing motorist, perhaps we’re not doing everything we can to protect cyclists, pedestrians, and other vulnerable users of our roadways.
Right now, our transportation infrastructure overwhelmingly favors the automobile, to the point where other modes of transportation seem to be little more than eccentricities that are benevolently indulged by planners and policy makers.
And yet, time and time again, it’s made clear that people value communities that are bikeable and walkable, qualities that are often at the top of the list when they’re looking for a place to live or work. The crash that injured the governor happened in Florida, but similar crashes happen all too frequently in Maine because the fact is, our transportation infrastructure does not reflect that priority.
We can do better. And if we’re truly committed to making our state a destination for bicycle tourism – if Maine truly is open for bicycle tourism business – we must.

Friday, May 18, Is National Bike To Work Day

By | Advocacy Events, Coalition News, Featured Posts

The Bicycle Coalition of Maine and the Portland Gear Hub Will Be Out to Welcome Bicycle Commuters with Snacks, Coupons for Free Coffee, Mechanics Stands and Tools for Quick Adjustments, and More!
Bicycle commuters in Portland will find a warm welcome on National Bike To Work Day, which is Friday, May 18.
The Bicycle Coalition of Maine will be on hand in Monument Square from 7am-10:30am with information about how to be a safer bicycle commuter, membership information, a mechanics stand and tools for quick adjustments, coupons for coffee from Others! Coffee, and $5 tokens for city employees who ride their bicycles to work, courtesy of the City of Portland’s employee wellness program.
Staff and volunteers from the Portland Gear Hub will have a mechanics stand and tools, free air set up outside A&C Grocery on Munjoy Hill, where they’ll be cooking up some hot breakfast treats, too.

“Biking to work has a lot of positives,” Bicycle Coalition of Maine Executive Director John Williams said. “Of course, there’s the physical benefit, but riding your bike to work is great way to save some money because you don’t have to pay for parking and you aren’t using any gas. If your commute is only a few miles, you’ll probably find that it’s just as quick, if not faster, to ride your bike than it is to drive.”
National Bike To Work Day, always the third Friday in May, dates to 1956, when the League of American Bicyclists suggested it as an addition to National Bike Month, which is May.
You can find more information and tips about bicycle commuting here.

Bicycle Coalition of Maine Podcast: National Bike Month, East Coast Greenway, Maine Women's Ride, and the New England BikeWalk Summit

By | Coalition News, Events, Featured Posts, Podcast

Bicycle Coalition of Maine Podcast hosts Frank Gallagher (left) and Kierie Piccininni behind the mics at a recent recording session.

The long-anticipated second episode of the Bicycle Coalition of Maine Podcast is now available.
In this episode, hosts Kierie Piccininni and Frank Gallagher talk Maine Women’s Ride, National Bike Month, the New England Bike/Walk Summit, the East Coast Greenway and the Maine Women’s Ride.
You can subscribe to the Bicycle Coalition of Maine podcast on iTunes, GooglePlay, Stitcher, or any other fine podcast delivery app. Of course, you can always find it right here on the Coalition web site.
And if you’ve got an idea for a topic you’d like to hear explored on the Bicycle Coalition of Maine Podcast, let us know.
Thanks for listening!