(PORTLAND, Maine) July 29, 2022 – The Bicycle Coalition of Maine, state legislators, and dozens of bicycle and pedestrian advocates from across the state met with Gov. Janet Mills for Tea at the Blaine House in Augusta on Thursday morning.
“We appreciate the opportunity to connect with the governor about the importance of active transportation,” said Bicycle Coalition of Maine Executive Director Jean Sideris. “The full house of attendees from across Maine and a wide variety of backgrounds demonstrates that there is broad support for making deep and long-term investments in biking and walking.”
“It was a pleasure to welcome the Bicycle Coalition of Maine to the Blaine House,” said Gov. Mills. “I look forward to continuing to engage with them and others to promote healthy, clean, and safe forms of transportation for Maine people.”
The attendees included state representatives and numerous bike shops, local businesses, local active transportation committees, public health proponents, trail organizations, non-profits, and other bicycle and pedestrian advocates.
The day began with a group bike ride that saw about 25 cyclists ride from the Maine State Library to the Blaine House. Bike racks set up on the lawn of the governor’s mansion ended up packed with bicycles prior to the event’s 9:30 a.m. start time.
After tea and refreshments in the Blaine House, the attendees returned to the Blaine House lawn for speeches by Sideris, Maine Public Health Association Executive Director Dr. Rebecca Boulos, and AARP Maine Volunteer State President Carl Bucciantini.
“MPHA was honored to join the event today, and grateful to the Bicycle Coalition of Maine for organizing and Gov. Mills’ administration for hosting,” Boulos said. “It was awesome to see so many people in support of investing in Maine’s bike/ped infrastructure, which we know improves public health, strengthens the economy, and helps Maine achieve its climate goals.”
“As the population ages and the popularity of e-bikes grows, we must make it safe to ride,” said Gorham Bike & Ski owner Jamie Wright, who provided e-bikes for demonstrations in the Blaine House driveway as part of the event. “We need more bike lanes, paths, trails, and a way to educate the general population about getting outside and being active.”
The Coalition aims to make the state safer and more welcoming for people walking, biking, and rolling, which is especially relevant given the record-high 20 pedestrians that were killed in Maine in 2021. Seven pedestrians and one cyclist have already died on Maine roads in 2022.
The Bicycle Coalition of Maine works to make Maine a better and safer place to bike and walk. Founded in 1992, the Bicycle Coalition of Maine has grown into the leading bicycle and pedestrian advocacy group in the state. The Coalition believes all Mainers should have access to bikes and bike education, and we envision a future where Maine’s roads, public ways, and trails are safe and accessible, resulting in cleaner travel options, improved health, and stronger economic benefits for Maine communities.