BICYCLE FRIENDLY COMMUNITY
Group Leader: Rick Heidick
The Bicycle Friendly Community Workgroup is working to make Stillwater and the surrounding areas more "bicycle-friendly" by working with the city council and other key players to make Stillwater more safe and fun for bicyclists.
If you are interested in this workgroup's initiatives, please contact Rick to join the BFC meetings.
MAY IS BIKE MONTH
May is Bike Month and we have focused on biking for kids this month!
In our efforts to make Stillwater an ever-greater “Bicycle Friendly Community” our Sustainable Stillwater MN team, along with volunteers from Stillwater Sunrise Rotary, have provided volunteers and supported the “Bike to School Day” on May 4th and the Stillwater Police Department’s “Annual Bike Safety Rodeo” on May 14th.
BIKE TO SCHOOL DAY:
This year, five of the seven schools in District 834 participated in Bike to School Day on May 4th. Bike to School Day is an annual event to focus on schools creating a safe and fun event where kids can ride their bikes to school. Many schools had treats and celebrations waiting for them upon their arrival.
Bike to School Day is designated by the National Safe Routes to School organization which is committed to continually improve the infrastructure, capabilities, safety, and opportunity for kids to be able to ride their bikes to and from school. Creating the safe infrastructure and environment can be a long-term process, but is a very important part of making any community more “bicycle friendly”.
The schools participating in the Bike to School event were: Lily Lake, Andersen, Lake Elmo, Brookview, and Afton-Lakeland. Thanks to Jennifer Cherry at the District for helping organize the event, and the Principals and staff did an excellent job at all schools preparing for the event itself.
Although the weather was a little chilly, there was an excellent turnout of kids and bikes (and even a few scooters) for the event. Sustainable Stillwater MN and Stillwater Sunrise Rotary provided volunteers at every school to assist with the event, and even had a couple of bikers ride in with the kids to Andersen.
This year’s District 834 Bike to School event was a HUGE success with what appeared to be about 30 to 40 and up to about 150 kids biking at each of the schools.
SPD ANNUAL BIKE SAFETY RODEO:
This annual event is organized and put on by the Stillwater Police Department. The bike rodeo has a designed course with specific bicycle “stations” where kids can practice specific skills, such as: quick turns, quick stops, looking for traffic when starting, hand signals, etc. These skills are very important for kids who are starting to learn to bike, and have learned balance and some basic skills, but need to improve their skills to be safer and more confident for riding around town. The confidence and safety of kids riding is another key element of continuing to make Stillwater a more “bicycle friendly” community.
Prior to riding on the course, volunteers were available to check over the bike, make necessary adjustments, and also to do helmet checks, to assure the kids safety.
After trying out the course and improving their skills, the kids were treated to hot dogs and root beer.
Thanks to Brad Junker and all of SPD for another great Bike Safety Rodeo. Volunteers from Sustainable Stillwater MN and Stillwater Sunrise Rotary were there to assist the SPD with some of the courses. It was another very successful year for the Bike Rodeo.
OUR CURRENT INITIATIVES
This workgroup is focused on working with city officials for Stillwater to adopt an action plan to create a Bicycle Friendly Community. We are committed to taking the correct steps to improve conditions for bicycling and realize the significant potential benefits of bicycling in our community
COLLABORATION WITH SPD
The BFC team is interested in working with the Stillwater Police to implement safe riding guidelines and bike parking areas. The two groups are also working to partner together on Bike to School efforts and bike rodeos for youth in our community.
BICYCLE EDUCATION PLAN
The ability to walk and bicycle safely is an important life skill. The BFC team is working on a bicycle education guide specific to Stillwater, MN.
PRESENTING BFC TO CITY COUNCIL
By enhancing the culture of bicycling in Stillwater, especially with a focus on safety and inclusion, the “livability” of Stillwater will grow, and Stillwater will continue to be attractive to residents and visitors alike. See the City Council, Rick, and volunteers at the presentation at City Hall December 2021.
COMPLETE STREETS RESOLUTION
Working with the city of Stillwater to pass a Complete Streets Resolution. Complete Streets make it easy to cross the street, walk to shops, jobs, and schools, bicycle to work and move actively with assistive devices. They allow buses to run on time and make it safe for people to walk or move actively to and from train stations.
DOWNTOWN BIKE RACKS
Downtown Stillwater needs more bike racks, so SSMN is working with the city to make that happen. Bike racks can accommodate more employees and customers than a single car parking space would. It also provides a convenient place for bikes to be stored. Adequate bike parking will also ensure that bikes aren't in the way of pedestrians or passersby.
BFC APPLICATION FOR 2021
We're preparing Stillwater to become an official Bicycle Friendly Community. Bicycling is more than a practical, cost-effective solution to many municipal challenges. It’s an opportunity to make your community a vibrant destination for residents and visitors — a place where people don’t just live and work but thrive.