Thu, April 09

Bicycle advocacy in the Verde Valley

The Verde Valley Cyclists Coalition was initially formed in 2005 by a group of avid cyclists of Cottonwood and the Sedona area. They have encouraged bicyclists to become active in their communities and to promote bicycling as a means of transportation and improved health. We are an organization of over 100 members. Not all members are bicyclists but all believe and support the organizations desire to improve bicycling within our communities.

Because of the efforts of VVCC members, Cottonwood and Sedona have each passed Bicycle-Pedestrian plans for their communities; as new roadways are developed, old roadways are improved, and new neighborhoods are developed, bicycle lanes will be added and good signage will improve the public's awareness of bicycles on the road. In Cottonwood there is a future plan for a paved bike-pedestrian path on the western perimeter of Cottonwood.

In the future, it is highly probable that business's will be required to provide secure bike parking facilities on their property; this is not only good public policy but good economic policy for the business's.

The Lynx public buses and the Sedona Trolley not only provide transportation for you but also for your bicycle. You can take the Sedona Trolley or the Lynx bus with your bike to Sedona, be dropped off for work, recreation, etc, and have a nice cruise mostly downhill back to Cottonwood.

There are two activities that are occurring in May as part of Bicycle Awareness Month that are national activities.

There will be a Mayors Ride on Friday, May 21. The Friday social ride will ride near her house to escort her and other members of the city staff as well as Yavapai County staff down to City Hall. This activity is to draw attention to the question, "Why not ride a bike to work?" Please, no donuts at the end of the Mayors Ride; bicycling seems to improve one's awareness of good nutrition.

Nationwide there is a Ride of Silence to commemorate those bicyclists who have been killed in accidents. So far this year in Arizona six bicyclists have been killed; Arizona in 2008 was ranked as the 10th deadliest state in the country for cyclists; but the third most bike-friendly state in the country; it was downgraded to seventh in 2009. That doesn't mean conditions for bicyclists have deteriorated; it does suggest that other states are making improvements in roadways and bike paths to make their communities and states more bike friendly and safe. The Ride of Silence occurs on May 19 nationwide; in Cottonwood the ride will start at 5 p.m. In July, 2007 one of our bicycling friends was killed by a motorist at the intersection of 89A and Lower Red Rock Loop Road. There is a "ghost" bike at the location as a monument to his life. The Ride of Silence in Cottonwood has special meaning to all of us that participate. We will be riding on public streets as well as state highways that go through our community so if you see us; don't honk but pass us safely in silence.

Bicyclists not only in the Verde Valley but throughout the country continue to work for better facilities and more awareness of bicycles as an alternate clean mode of transportation. Public, city, and country support is much appreciated by all of us on our two-wheeled energy efficient machines.

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