Let’s make Denver the most bike-friendly city in America. Not in 2029. Now.
By Avi Stopper — Founder, Bike Streets
– Bike Streets is a project to get more people riding bikes in Denver
– The core idea is a better bike map of low-traffic, low-speed side streets
– Sign up for the free Bike Streets Passport and ride a bike in June to 75 local businesses
Why don’t more people ride bikes in Denver?
It’s not because they don’t have bikes. And it’s not because they don’t want to ride. Rather, it’s because they’re scared of riding on big, hairy city streets. That fear isn’t unreasonable. Riding in the bike lane on MLK with cars ripping past at 45 miles an hour is anything but a pleasant, low-stress affair.
So what should we do about the paradox that people want to ride a bike but don’t because they’re scared? In some ways, the answer is already there, staring us in the face: ride on pleasant, low-traffic, low-speed neighborhood streets. Indeed many bicyclists, novices and grizzled veterans alike, have long been picking out these kinds of routes.
I call these routes Bike Streets. And a new project I’m leading is focused on creating a comprehensive map of them that allows people on bikes to get pretty much anywhere in Denver. A single, coherent map is what’s been missing and what I believe can make biking accessible to more people. It’s one thing to pick out a nice loop in your neighborhood. It’s another to think about riding 6 miles from Baker to Lowry and not know what streets to take.
To illustrate the possibilities of where you can go on a bike in Denver, we’ve created the free June 2018 Bike Streets Passport. It’s a way to get out on a bike and patronize more than 75 local businesses that support bicycling. Passport venues include the Museum of Nature and Science, breweries, ice cream shops, coffee shops, churches, and restaurants. The point is that you can ride a bike pretty much anywhere in Denver.
Bike Streets isn’t just about the Map or the Passport. It’s about the community. It’s about people getting out and demonstrating that riding a bike from one place to another is a normal, reasonable thing that pretty much anyone can do.
For a simple machine that can cost as little as a few hundred dollars, the bicycle has an outsized ability to change individual lives and communities for the better. I invite you to get a Bike Streets Passport, tell your friends, and invite them to go for a ride.
Get a free Bike Streets Passport
The Bike Streets Plan: June 2018
1. DESIGN A BETTER DENVER BIKE MAP USING LOW-TRAFFIC SIDE STREETS.
What’s the main reason more people don’t bike to work? Because it’s scary out there. Bike lanes on MLK with cars whizzing past at 45 miles an hour? No thanks.
Bike Streets is a brand-new map, designed from the ground up. The map is a tightly connected network, mostly of side streets that minimize exposure to cars. Traffic on these streets is usually local and slow-moving. They’re streets on which it’s actually pleasant to ride a bike.
2. BUILD A COMMUNITY OF 10,000 PEOPLE COMMITTED TO USING THE MAP 8 TIMES IN JUNE.
Knowing that other people are out there riding creates a sense of community so you’re not just one lonely urban warrior. When lots of people ride, it feels like something anyone can do, whether you’re headed to work, dinner, a brewery, or church.
Strength in numbers is also about making a statement. The more people that ride, the louder the statement we’ll make that riding a bike to get around is a reasonable thing to do.
3. CREATE A PASSPORT TO HELP PEOPLE ON BIKES GET OUT AND SUPPORT LOCAL BUSINESSES.
You can take the Bike Streets Passport to dozens of breweries, coffee shops, restaurants, and so forth. Find new places to go and get to your existing favorites on a bike.
When you get there on a bike, they’ll stamp your passport, enter you in their passport ledger, and, depending on the venue, give you a discount on something. All sorts of prizes will be given out at the end of June to those who ride the most.