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Pedaling Into the Future: Aspen Empowers Safer and More Sustainable Travel Following Inaugural Bike Education Day
ASPEN, CO, July 24, 2023 – Last Wednesday, the City of Aspen took a significant stride towards safer, more bicycle-friendly roads with its inaugural Bike Education Day. This initiative, designed to foster road safety, mutual respect, and adherence to road rules, revealed vital insights that will influence the city’s future efforts.
The event underscored the importance of education and the role of accountability in enhancing compliance with road rules. On the Hopkins and Hallam Ped-Bikeways, 86% and 83% of cyclists, respectively, adhered to the rules of the road without needing intervention. However, when other vehicles were present, adherence rates dropped, indicating the need for continuous education, particularly regarding the "stop as yield" law. This rule permits cyclists to treat stop signs as yield signs when the intersection is empty but mandates a full stop when other vehicles are present.
Community Response Officer, Lara Xaiz, who participated in the Bike Education Day emphasized, “It was great collaborating with other city departments to educate cyclists, listen to their concerns, and to see so many people commuting to work on their bikes,” Xaiz continued. “However, we would also like to take this opportunity to remind cyclists they must stop at stop signs unless the intersection is clear, and they have the right of way.”
In the bustling Pedestrian Malls, 64% of cyclists showed respect for shared spaces by dismounting voluntarily, while 36% needed reminders. Feedback from the day also underscored the need for clearer signage and defined rules for alternative vehicles.
Reflecting on these findings, PJ Murray, Project Manager for the City of Aspen's Engineering Department, said, "The insights from Bike Education Day provide a clear path for future safety enhancements. We are committed to addressing the areas that need attention to create a safer environment for everyone."
Building on these insights, the city is considering several improvements for future Bike Education Days. These include increasing ranger visibility, extending presence on pedestrian-bikeways during peak hours, more education around four-way stops, and refining methods for distributing educational materials.
In response to these findings, the City of Aspen is planning two major initiatives: potential training specifically for city staff, affirming a commitment to leading by example in road safety, and hosting another Bike Education Day at the start of fall to continue the momentum from the inaugural event.
As the city continues its journey towards safer and more inclusive roadways, the city calls upon its community members to remain accountable, respectful, and committed to road safety. Our collective understanding and adherence to road rules are key to a harmonious, accommodating Aspen.