The Bicycle Coalition of Maine works to make Maine a better place to bike and walk. Founded by a small group of cyclists in 1992, the Bicycle Coalition of Maine has grown into one of the most effective bicycle and pedestrian advocacy groups in the country. As a 501c3 non-profit organization, the Bicycle Coalition of Maine is funded predominantly by donations from individual and business members. We attribute our success to the dedication of our members, board, staff, and partner businesses and organizations.
The Bicycle Coalition of Maine’s five-year strategic plan guides our work to expand biking in Maine, improve bike and pedestrian safety, pass bike- and ped-friendly laws, and spread a love of being active to children and adults alike. Our bi-annual magazine and bi-monthly eBlasts keep members updated about our current activities and upcoming events. Join us!
Here are a few highlights from our history:
- The Coalition is born at the Maine Bike Rally in Newport in 1992. A rally on the steps of the Statehouse that year draws about 60 cyclists.
- The Coalition organizes the first Bike to Work Day in the state in 1993.
- Bike safety education programs begin in schools in 1994, using curriculum materials developed by the Coalition.
- Five pages on sharing the road with bicycles are included in the new Maine Motorist Handbook in 1997 thanks to the Coalition’s efforts. In 1998, the Coalition successfully advocates for adding a bike safety question to the Maine Driver’s Exam.
- MaineDOT’s shoulder-paving policy is revised in 1999 with significant input from the Coalition to provide more paved shoulders on state roads.
- The Coalition begins teaching “Bicycle Safety and the Law” classes for police statewide in 2002.
- The League of American Bicyclists gives the Coalition the Bicycle Education Leadership Award at its first National Education Leadership Conference in 2002.
- In 2007, the Coalition leads the successful effort to win passage of a major revision of Maine bicycling laws. A key provision requires motorists to give three feet of clearance when passing bicycles.
- The Coalition partners with MaineDOT to manage the Maine Safe Routes to School program. Since 2004, the program has worked with schools to encourage more children to walk and bike to school through events such as Walk and Bike to School Day. In 2009, the Safe Routes to School National Partnership cites Maine’s program as a national model.
- The Coalition launches the Community Spokes program in 2011 and trains the first class of local advocates. As of 2019, there are now more than 160 Community Spokes representing all 16 counties in Maine.
- After two years of planning, in 2013, the Coalition launches BikeMaine, an annual week-long bike tour showcasing the people, places, food, and culture of Maine.
- In 2013, the Coalition designs and launches the Maine Walking School Bus Program with funding from the Maine Center for Disease Control & Prevention. From 2013 – 2018, BCM staff worked with nine schools to launch daily walking school buses in their communities.
- The Coalition plays an instrumental role in assisting the MaineDOT’s adoption of a statewide Complete Streets Policy in 2014.
- The Coalition launches the Bikes for All Mainers program in 2014 to provide bicycles, bike maintenance skills, and traffic awareness for Mainers without the economic means to purchase a bicycle or other forms of reliable transportation. In 2015, the Coalition begins partnering with the Portland Gear Hub on Bikes for All Mainers operations.
- In 2015, the Coalition introduces the concept of “vulnerable users” to Maine law. The Coalition begins temporary Imagine People Here “tactical urbanism” demonstrations.
- The Coalition launches the Heads Up! Pedestrian Safety Initiative during 2017 in collaboration with MaineDOT to move beyond safety education and into community safety planning.
- In 2019, the Coalition writes legislation to categorize and clarify e-bike law, which was passed and signed into law by Gov. Janet Mills. The Coalition assists in the passage of the Hands-Free driving bill.
We’ve accomplished a lot since 1992, but we still have plenty of work to do to make Maine better for pedestrians and people on bikes. Help us by joining the Coalition if you’re not already a member, following us on social media, or supporting us at one of our events. We are always looking for the next Community Spokes and volunteers for our activities and legislative advocacy efforts.
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