Entries tagged: South Dakota Bicycle Coalition

Alliance Members Rally for the U.S. Bicycle Route System

imageOn May 2nd, advocates at the Adventure Cycling Association (ACA) launched the second annual fundraising campaign for the U. S. Bicycle Route System (USBRS), a proposed national network of bicycle routes, spanning multiple states.

Routes will connect U.S. cities, transportation hubs, scenic and historic destinations. Thirty states are currently working on the USBRS, and on May 11th, the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) approved six new USBRS bicycle routes, the first to be established since 1982.

Driven by the success of the 2010 campaign, which raised more than $27,000 for the effort, ACA aims to raise $30,000 with the 2011 Build It. Bike It. Be a Part of It. campaign. ACA is not alone in its efforts: This year, several Alliance member organizations are teaming with the campaign as state partners. Participating groups include Bike Walk Tennessee, the Bicycle Alliance of Washington, Bike Utah, the South Dakota Bicycle Coalition, and the Bicycle Advocacy of Central Arkansas. The advocacy organizations act as allies to ACA’s fundraising efforts by promoting and raising money for the campaign. In return, each group will use a portion of the proceeds to support the creation of bicycle routes in their home states.

To gain some insight on our members’ involvement with the campaign, we spoke with the San Dakota Bicycle Coalition (SDBC). SDBC got involved with the ACA and the USBRS when Ginny Sullivan, Special Projects Director at the ACA, reached out to them via Facebook in the fall of 2009. “I’m an ACA member, so I was excited to connect with [Ginny] on the USBRS,” Jessica Giard, Board Vice President of SDBC, says. “We know SDBC members want cross-state routes, so this seems a good start in that direction.”

USBRS has already proven to be an asset to these advocates, and groups hope that it will continue to boost bicycle tourism within their respective states. “Tourism is a top industry in South Dakota, and we see more possibility for bicycle travel in the industry,” Giard says. “Bicycle travel is one of the coalition’s initiatives. Developing the USBRS in South Dakota plays hugely in validating bicycle tourism.”

While USBRS is still in its infancy in several states, advocates believe that it will continue to be a powerful tool for the bicycling movement. “It’s early yet in the South Dakota route development, but, thankfully, the coalition has a good connections within our state DOT,” Giard says. “I see this effort as nothing but positive for bicycling in our state.”

The campaign runs through May 31st and has raised more than $14,000 as of May 24th. Looking to help the campaign reach its $30,000 goal? Donate to the campaign here. Click here to help spread the word and be sure to follow the efforts for the USBRS campaign on its Facebook page.

Another Successful Winning Campaigns Training!

imageTwo weeks ago, 13 advocates from seven Midwest bike/ped organizations gathered in Davenport, Iowa for an Alliance Winning Campaigns Training.

Hosted by the Iowa Bicycle Coalition and facilitated by veteran bike/ped advocate Dave Snyder and Alliance CEO Jeff Miller, participants had two and a half days to develop their campaign strategy, learn from fellow organizers, and – of course – bike along the Mississippi River.

“This training helped me become a better leader and advocate for bicycling,” said Jessica Giard from the South Dakota Bicycle Coalition. Giard not only worked through the development of a complete streets campaign, but also said she plans to apply what she learned to other aspects of her burgeoning organization.

Campaigns that were addressed by other training participants included 3-foot passing laws, Safe Routes to School, mandatory training for all crossing guards in Iowa, and working with a state DOT to update drivers’ license manuals and exams to include questions about biking and walking.

Not knowing what a campaign was before the Friday evening session of the course, Ruth Myers from Active Transportation Alliance in Chicago said she now has a clear blueprint, identified targets, manageable goals, and is well on her way to work on improving Chicago metro stations to be more accessible to cyclists and pedestrians. “Whether you are a novice advocate or an old hand, you’ll learn something from this course,” she said.

Heed the advice of Wes Ridgeway from the Missouri Bicycle and Pedestrian Federation: “If you want to participate in projects in a positive way, please take this training.” Join the many organizations and advocates who have participated in and grown from the Alliance’s Winning Campaigns Trainings and sign up for the upcoming training in Baltimore, MD, May 13-15. Early registration ends today, so register online for a discounted weekend price.

This affordable training wouldn’t be possible without the generous support of our sponsors: Planet Bike, VBT Bicycling and Walking Vacations, SRAM, Bikes Belong, AARP, Alta Planning + Design, Team Estrogen, Sun Bicycles and Specialized. Sponsorship opportunities are still available; click here for more information.

We hope to see you in Maryland next month!