OGUNQUIT — After one year of forming, the Ogunquit Bike-Ped Committee said the community is currently climbing the ranks to be one of Maine’s top bicycle friendly towns.
The League of American Bicyclists, headquartered in Washington, D.C., listed Ogunquit as an “honorable mention” bicycle friendly town for its efforts in founding the Bike-Ped Committee, an increase of bicycle racks around town, education by the Ogunquit Police Department and the continued effort to further the cause of being welcoming to those who enjoy traveling on two wheels.
Charles LaFlamme, chairman for the Bike-Ped Committee, said it is “quite a distinction” to be recognized, especially just one year after forming the committee.
LaFlamme called cycling “the most efficient vehicle on the planet” and said Ogunquit is only one of a handful of communities that has been recognized this year. Additionally, LaFlamme said sending in the application in late July and hearing back from the League of American Bicyclists helps solidify the importance of the committee.
Pat Arnaudin, Ogunquit police chief, said the top concern from the Police Department is keeping residents and visitors safe, so instead of handing out tickets for not having the appropriate reflective and light equipment on bicycles, pamphlets and free lights are handed out regularly.
“It works better instead of ticketing. The Police Department buys the bike lights and hands them out. It makes more sense than to ticket someone who is just trying to get to work,” Arnaudin said.
Additionally, the Police Department provides bicycle helmets for children and adults through a grant.
“Anyone can come in and get a free helmet. We try to talk to kids about bike safety and rules,” she said.
Kristen Rinaldi, an Ogunquit resident and member of the Bike-Ped Committee, said the honorable mention is encouraging to her as someone who enjoys bicycling through town.
“People on bikes should be able to feel safe,” Rinaldi said.
Rinaldi said before the committee there were very few bicycle racks and was little public awareness about sharing the road with cyclists, but the committee is educating the community and providing more opportunities and resources for bicyclists.
“We have to inform the public so there’s awareness, that’s what it’s all about,” Rinaldi said.