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.
As a 501c3 non-profit organization, the Bicycle Coalition of Maine is powered by donations from individual and business members. We attribute our success to the dedication of our members, board, staff, and partner businesses and organizations. 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.
- During the 2020 coronavirus pandemic, the BCM helped earn essential business designations for bike shops across the state so they could continue to operate as critical members of the transportation community.
- The BCM launched the Slow ME Down anti-speeding campaign in the summer of 2020 in response to an increase in speeding motorists during the pandemic and the rising number of pedestrian fatalities in Maine.
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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