At a Lexington conference, local and national experts are mapping out plans for a statewide bicycle and pedestrian advocacy network in Kentucky.
While the weather may not be ideal for a brisk bike ride, avid cyclists and walkers from across the commonwealth and beyond are converging on Transylvania University this week for the second Bike Walk Summit.
"At least people are... more happy to be inside talking about biking since they can't be outside riding on their bikes," says Transy exercise science professor Dr. Sharon Brown.
More than 300 people made the trek for the two-day conference geared toward creating more space for travelers who prefer two wheels instead of four – or none at all. Brown says it’s all about sharing ideas and pooling resources that may exist in different communities.
"People sometimes feel isolated in their energies and their advocacy, so to all the sudden get together with other people who share similar challenges and also want to share their successes, this has been kind of energizing for them," she adds.
One way of harnessing that energy is to create a bike and pedestrian advocacy organization that can push for changes at the state policy level – like this year’s House Bill 33, which mandates that drivers maintain at least a three-foot cushion around cyclists while passing.
"Help make our roads safer," one public service announcement states, "it's the law."
"We are one of few states in the U.S. that don't have a statewide organization, so it's really important that we get that going so there's someone full time who can advocate," the summit's Samuel Crankshaw notes.
As for Lexington’s progress, Brown points to plans for new city bike lanes and the Town Branch Trail's potential to serve as a major connector between the urban and rural parts of the community.