As the Bike Commuter Challenge kicks off, bike and motorist organizations team up for safe streetsChicago, Ill., June 13, 2014 — As the summer bike riding season shifts into high gear with the Bike Commuter Challenge and Chicago Bike Week (June 13-20), Chicago’s leading biking, walking and transit advocacy organization, Active Transportation Alliance is teaming up with AAA, the nation’s largest motor organization on a campaign to encourage bicyclists and motorists to safely share the road. The campaign tagline, “Two Wheels Four Wheels – We All Roll Together” reminds both people driving and biking that all roadway users have the same rights, rules and responsibilities.
According to a new analysis just released by the Active Transportation Alliance, there are on average nearly 125,000 daily bike trips taken in Chicago. The report also finds that biking to work, which has more than tripled from 2000 to 2012, now accounts for 26,000 trips.
“As the number of Chicagoland bike commuters continues to climb, it’s more important than ever that people biking and driving treat one another with respect and courtesy,” said Ron Burke, executive director of the Active Transportation Alliance. “We’re thrilled to be working with AAA Chicago to spread the word about the need for safety and civility on our streets.”
The campaign includes “We All Roll Together” ads that will be distributed through social media and at various events. In addition, safety tip cards for motorists will distributed at events and with every Chicago tow provided by AAA tow trucks.
“The expanded bike lanes and increased number of bikes on the roads will certainly be an adjustment for motorists,” said Beth Mosher, director of public affairs for AAA Chicago. “But the direction Chicago – and so many other cities – is taking to enhance bike lanes and provide healthy, convenient and safe transportation options for all is an exciting one that we all need to embrace. We’re excited to work with Active Transportation Alliance to help motorists and bicyclists embrace these roadway changes and share the streets safely.”
People can show support for Active Trans and AAA Chicago’s “Two Wheels, Four Wheels” campaign by signing an online pledge to respectfully share the road, and by posting the campaign logo on social media (#RollTogetherChi) that displays the campaign’s tagline: “Two Wheels, Four Wheels — We All Roll Together.” Visit www.activetrans.org/rolltogether to sign on to the campaign and download the shareable campaign ads.
With thousands of people biking to work for the Bike Commuter Challenge this week in Chicago, many for the first time, Active Transportation Alliance and AAA Chicago are offering education and tips to keep this urban area safer:
Tips for motorists:
- Share the road. People riding bikes have the same rights and responsibilities as people driving cars, including the right to ride in the traffic lane.
- Slow down and allow at least three feet of clearance when passing someone riding a bike. It’s a state law.
- Check mirrors and blind spots before turning, changing lanes or opening car doors.
- Never honk your horn at someone biking. They may startle and swerve off the road or into traffic.
- Stay alert and avoid all distractions while driving. Look before pulling out from a parking space; yield to people biking at intersections and be especially watchful at intersections and when making turns—either left or right.
- Be a "roll" model. Follow the rules of the road, ride with traffic, and don’t put yourself and others at risk by riding recklessly.
- Be visible. Ride where people driving can see you. Wear brightly colored clothing at all times. At night, use a white front light, a red rear light or reflector, and wear reflective clothing.
- Be predicable. Ride in a straight line and don’t swerve between parked cars. Make eye contact with people driving to let them know you are there.
- Anticipate conflicts. Always be aware of traffic around you and be prepared to take action, exercising additional caution at intersections.
- Wear a helmet. Helmets, when worn properly, are up to 85 percent effective in protecting the head and brain in the event of a crash.
The Active Transportation Alliance is a non-profit, member-based advocacy organization that works to make bicycling, walking and public transit so safe, convenient and fun that we will achieve a significant shift from environmentally harmful, sedentary travel to clean, active travel. The organization builds a movement around active transportation, encourages physical activity, increases safety and builds a world-class transportation network. Formerly the Chicagoland Bicycle Federation, the Active Transportation Alliance is supported by more than 7,000 members and 1,000 volunteers. For more information about the Active Transportation Alliance, visit www.activetrans.org or call 312.427.3325.