Safety and Education Committee Report
NH Bike Walk Summit
Granite State Wheelmen and the Bike-Walk Alliance of New Hampshire hosted the state's first-time Bike-Walk Summit on July 14th at Concord Crossing. This NH Bike-Walk Summit brought together people from across the state and identified some key areas for strengthening statewide efforts. There were 42 participants with representatives from Bike Durham, Bike Manchester, Bike-Walk Alliance of NH, Cheshire Rail Trail, Central NH Bicycling Coalition, Goffstown Rail Trail, Granite State Wheelmen (13 members), Newfound Pathway, NH Rail Trails Coalition, Northern Rail Trail, Pathways for Keene, Salem Bike-Ped Corridor, Merrimack River Greenway Trail, Seacoast Area Bicycle Riders, Lake Winnipesaukee Scenic Trail and Winnipesaukee River Trail.
The NH Bike-Walk Summit featured speakers from Vermont's statewide program, Local Motion and the Bicycle Coalition of Maine who offered insights on their successful evolution and ongoing challenges. Summit group discussions focused on New Hampshire's strengths including great scenery and places to walk and ride, strong bicycle clubs and special events, expanding and connecting trail systems, and success in education and advocacy efforts including laws to better protect cyclists and pedestrians,
Next steps identified by Summit participants include:
improving safety on key roadways at the state and local level through involvement with State and community transportation planning organizations, identifying “hot spots” for investment for commuters, recreational users, and visitors
expand and better connect the statewide rail trail network
education for bicyclists, motorists and local and state officials on Complete Streets policies and other measures to better road design for all users
strengthening relationships with tourism industry to promote bike-walk opportunities for NH residents and visitors
defining how a statewide bike-walk organization can serve as a hub to local clubs and organizations by providing services, communications and coordinating efforts like legislative outreach, statewide priorities, and special events
Notes and photos from the NH Bike-Walk Summit are posted on the Bike Walk Alliance of NH and Granite State Wheelmen websites. For more information about the Summit or how to get involved in any of the activities or issues discussed, contact Donna Hepp. Other GSW members involved in planning the Summit were Dave Topham, Paula Bedard, Leslie Thompson and the late Theresa Gerossee.
GSW Conference Call after Summit
In late July, some GSW Summit participants met on a conference call to discuss the Summit and its implications for statewide bike-ped efforts in New Hampshire and take-home ideas for GSW. The dialog was frank and respectful but indicated concerns about how to ensure sustainable statewide bike-walk organizations in New Hampshire. Here are some of the issues discussed:
Bike-Walk Alliance of NH (BWANH), the statewide bike-ped organization was established in 2006. Currently, BWANH is working hard to reach a stronger financial position to support its bike-ped advocacy and education programs and staff. BWA funding sources include individual, business and corporate-level sponsors, a grant from NH DOT that funds their Safe Routes to School Bike-Walk Safety program, and a grant from the You Have Our Trust Fund. Even with these varied funding sources, BWANH struggles to meet their annual budget requirements. Go to www.bwanh.org/ for more information on BWA accomplishments.
The GSW and BWANH Boards have discussed ways to strengthen statewide bike-ped efforts. This year, one of the first steps was to conduct a survey of NH bicyclists in April which indicated support for a statewide bike-walk program.
A conference call with Local Motion from Vermont offered advice and insights on building a successful statewide program. The NH Bike-Walk Summit in July provided an opportunity to see what the bike-ped community wants to see in the future.
During the GSW call after the Summit, one GSW member expressed concern was expressed about GSW contributing more funds unless BWANH demonstrates ability to obtain additional funding from other sources, provides clearly defined payment for services or specific initiatives. Others pointed out GSW's history and commitment to supporting bicycle education and advocacy as directly benefiting GSW members and inherently in keeping with GSW goals.
Some of the options discussed were:
Contracts with NH DOT with Regional Planning Commissions
Expand individual, business/corporate and Club memberships
New grants opportunities (NH Charitable Foundation grants and public health grants)
Special issue fund-raiser campaigns
Contribution from GSW to assist with financing part-time BWA assistant
Provide Club affiliates with a range of services for a fee such as:
providing membership list management
cloud-based database storage
statewide website on bicycling opportunities
assistance with event management
statewide updates on bike-ped information/calls to action on legislative issues
coordinate regional legislative updates for state legislators and local advocacy workshops
REMINDER: BE SEEN!
Make sure to wear at least one item of reflective outerwear apparel, such as a reflective vest, jacket, or helmet strip, during the period from 1/2 hour after sunset to 1/2 hour before sunrise.
Note: It is prudent to use flashing bicycle tail lights and headlights both day and night.
Safety and Education Coordinator