The ground has finally thawed and we’ve had our first severe thunderstorm warning, so I think that it is safe to say Spring has arrived.
It’s not right when we desired it, it’s not simply official by the calendar, but it’s in the air. Living near a college campus, it is awesome to see the area come back to life and fill back up with people running, walking and riding their bicycles to and fro.
Living near a river trail shows just how many people have been fighting cabin fever through the long winter and are taking advantage of the areas trails and sidewalks.
The changes South Bend has made to sidewalks, signage and lane allocation for pedestrians and cyclists have been significant through the past few years and with the encouragement of local business owners, more and more people are feeling safer to run around town on their bicycles.
Downtown South Bend and many surrounding neighborhoods and communities now feature more labeled lanes and more obvious places to lock one’s bicycle.
According to bikeleague.org, South Bend is a bronze level “Bike Friendly Community.” Bikeleague.org states that, “through information, advocacy and promotion, we work to celebrate and preserve the freedom cycling brings to our members everywhere.”
Five of the major categories on which that assessment is based include engineering, education, evaluation, enforcement and encouragement.
A few examples from each of those categories include “comprehensive, connected and well-maintained bicycling networks,” community education for motorists and cyclists and their rights and responsibilities, and community encouragement through events and rides.
It’s pretty exciting that for the last few years we have hit enough of those marks to keep the bronze level and we’ve witnessed the community growing its cycling and pedestrian traffic actively.
It’s been great to see local business owners encouraging cyclists on the road, and connecting with our local service, Flying V Messengers, as well. (See below)
Seeing local business owners downtown posting about riding their bikes to events and enjoying time out and about has helped encourage and normalize it with students, young adults and the wiser crowd as well.
IUSB has increasingly seen more and more bicycle commuters darting around campus too, especially with the addition of student housing across the river. Students bike from all over the area, however, and it has helped increase the feeling of freedom and safety to do so with the integration of bike lanes on busy Mishawaka Avenue.
The hope is that with more people hitting the town on their bicycles more people are associated with those on their bicycles and will therefore look out and share the road a little more willingly.
Already seeing many out and about in almost all parts of the area on their bicycles is awesome. Whether your ride of choice is a cruiser, road, hybrid, vintage, recumbent, mountain or BMX-style, sharing the road and sharing it with our friends and family is important as a community moving forward. Stay safe and share the road as we finally enter confidently into our warmer months!
Preface Reporter Nick Wort met with Flying V Messengers founder Vince Brabhon last year, story found here: http://iusbpreface.net/2014/09/23/the-newest-way-to-get-food-in-downtown-south-bend-bicycle-delivery