David Byrne, author of "Bicycle Diaries"
Providence was recently host to a lecture honoring the late Senator Claiborne Pell that focused on “Cities, Bicycles and the Future of Getting Around”. The symposium explored how bicycling can transform the urban experience, and featured several panelists, most notably David Byrne of the Talking Heads. While Byrne–who has recently been on tour promoting his new book Bicyle Diaries–was certainly the most prominent speaker of the night, it was Rhode Island’s own Barry Schiller who gave the most inspiring speeches regarding the future of bicycling in the state. He summed it up quite simply, giving us the top 10 ways we can help bicycling in Rhode Island. His suggestions are as follows:
Top Ten Ways to Help Bicycling in Rhode Island
10. Help combat dangerous driving by driving carefully, supporting laws and enforcement against drunk driving, distracted driving, red-light running etc
9. Teach your kids to ride a bike, and to ride safely, so we get the next generation of bicyclists
8. Help use our bike infrastructure to market RI as geo-tourism destination where auto use can be minimized
7. Ride transit when appropriate as biking and transit complement each other in providing an alternative to auto travel, especially with our bus bike racks. RIPTA service on key routes is much better than many non-users think it is, and soon we will have expanded commuter rail.
6. Join, support, or become active in one of many bike advocacy groups – such as the NBW, the RI Bike Coalition, East Coast Greenway Alliance, Recycle-a-Bike, US Open Cycling Foundation, or Friends of the various bikeways
5. Help ensure that roadway shoulders are properly swept, have bike-safe grates, potholes are fixed, and institute and maintain appropriate bike lanes, traffic calming, various kinds of share-the-road signs and other “complete street” features
4. Help us complete our bike path network including the north and south end of the Blackstone, the South County, Washington Secondary, and Woonasquatucke paths, as well as possible projects in Tiverton, Aquidneck Island, Jamestown, the Pontiac branch, Hope Spur etc.
3. Support an increased revenue stream for transportation as we will need that to fix our roads and bridges, maintain and improve transit, and have the bicycle infrastructure we want
2. Maintain an atmosphere of communication, collaboration and cooperation between the bicycle community and the various municipal and state agencies and other stakeholders
1. RIDE YOUR BIKE – and have doing so – as we need this to help build a “critical mass” of riders and building a statewide bicycle culture