Bicycle Colorado

4th Colorado Bicycle Summit brings out the bicyclists

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Andy Clarke, League of American Bicyclists, Colorado Bicycle Summit
Andy Clarke, president of the League of American Bicyclists, addresses Summit attendees

On Feb. 10, more than 250 people filled a downtown Denver ballroom to learn more about how to make Colorado an even more bicycle-friendly state at the 2014 Colorado Bicycle Summit.

“You’re going to come out of this room with a number of really good ideas,” Gov. John Hickenlooper told the gathering of bicycling enthusiasts and advocates, infrastructure planners, bicycling industry representatives, elected officials and agency staff during his keynote talk. “We need people like you to embrace those ideas and get them done.”

The governor ramped up the energy in the room, and it carried throughout the two-day event. Day one included keynote speakers and breakout sessions. Day two took attendees to the State Capitol to network and meet with representatives.

VIEW SUMMIT SLIDESHOW

Clarke calls for a broader conversation

Andy Clarke, president of the League of American Bicyclists, and John Ricks, assistant director of the Colorado Tourism Office, joined Hickenlooper as keynote speakers.

Clarke lauded Colorado as a pioneer of bicycle friendliness, and explained our state’s 2013 Bicycle-Friendly State report card (published by the League). But, he said that funding for bicycling and pedestrian projects in all 50 states is poor overall, even in Colorado.

“A fraction of our transportation funding is being directed to bike projects,” he said. “Nationally, only 285 bike projects are funded, and the vast majority of the money is spent without any thought given to biking and walking. As far as we’ve come in 20 years, we still have a long way to go.”

He gave tips for changing the conversation bicycling advocates have with all levels of government, including supporting broader transportation issues, health issues, parks and recreation so that “we are talking about the public interest, not our special interest.”

Ricks shows tourism campaign, economic impact

John Ricks talked about how Colorado is a top five tourist destination, and that bicycling is a big draw. He reported that in 2012 there were 60.2 million overnight trips to Colorado, 29.5 million overnight trips and $898 million in tourism revenue.

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He showed a series of Colorado tourism ads—branded on a Come to Life theme—that are shown outside our state.The idea, he said, isn’t to bring people to Colorado for specific activities like biking, hiking and skiing, but for the overall sense of beauty and adventure that our state offers. The campaign, which you can find by following @Colorado on Twitter, is about creating an emotional pull.

High-energy breakout sessions create enthusiasm

summit-breakout-sessions

The energy continued into the afternoon’s six breakout sessions. While we’re just beginning to gather formal feedback, man-on-the-street comments indicate that the interactive and informative discussions gave attendees great takeaways.

  • Examples of real-world experiences of building infrastructure that gets people on bikes, including information from the City and County of Denver’s Emily Snyder about the 15th Street bike lane.
  • Information about where to find state and federal funding sources to plan and construct new trails.
  • Tactics used by Bike Longmont to get nontraditional cyclists to participate in community biking, including the successful Open Streets and Bike Night events.
  • A plethora of ideas, generated by small groups, for getting more women on bikes.
  • Easy-to-implement ideas for organizations to get their stories out through traditional and social media.
  • Ways for communities to plug into bike/pedestrian traffic counting programs, including how programs from the Colorado Department of Transportation and Boulder work.

Attendees visit state capitol

Bicycle Colorado at state capitol

On Day 2, attendees visited the Colorado state capitol building to network with their elected representatives. Denver B-cycle generously arranged for many of our attendees to ride to the building. Legislators and the lieutenant governor, Joe Garcia, stopped by for breakfast. Advocates talked about an upcoming bill to dedicate state general funds to Safe Routes to School programs, which have lost dedicated federal funding and play a crucial role in improving the health of kids by encouraging them to bike and walk to school.

Thanks to all of our speakers and sponsors

The Colorado Bicycle Summit would not be successful without the support of our sponsors and our speaker’s expertise.

Thank you to:

  • Primal Wear, presenting sponsor
  • AAA Colorado and People for Bikes, champion sponsors
  • Gates Carbon Drive and SRAM, supporting sponsors
  • Alta Planning + design, ColoBikeLaw.com, Denver B-cycle, GO Boulder/City of Boulder, New Belgium Brewing, Polar Bottle, The Denver Post Ride The Rockies/Pedal The Plains, USA Pro Challenge and Wheat Ridge Cyclery, contributing sponsors
  • Kaiser Permanente
  • All of the speakers and presenters who gave their time to our successful day


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Bicycle Colorado

About the Author: Bicycle Colorado

Bicycle Colorado is a 501(c)3 nonprofit based in Denver. We use advocacy, education and passion to make Colorado one of the most bicycle-friendly states in the nation. We encourage and promote bicycling, increase safety, improve conditions and provide a voice for people who ride bicycles in Colorado. With the support of our members and numerous partnerships across the public and private sector, we’ve made significant strides in improving bicycling since 1992.

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