Bike safety education and Ridge Avenue are top priorities.
Go Evanston leadership has set its plans for 2018, and those plans include bicycle education for kids and a focus on making Ridge Avenue safer for everyone.
We will need help to develop and execute both programs. If you have a passion and/or an expertise that can help, please email us at [email protected] and get involved.
Bicycle Education for Kids
From the start bicycle safety education for kids has been a top priority for Go Evanston. We believe every child should know how to stay safe when using Evanston’s roads and sidewalks. We also believe they should learn to be courteous bikers and pedestrians.
Vickie Jacobsen is leading this project, and there is much to do. We must develop curriculum, recruit and train trainers, and work with schools and other institutions to test and grow the program.
Our vision is that every child in Evanston will eventually:
- Have a safe bicycle that has been checked by a trained mechanic,
- Have a helmet and bike lights,
- Know safe routes to school, to parks and beaches, and other destinations,
- Have passed a class and demonstrated safe bike use.
Although this may seem like pretty lofty goals, Wilmette already has started a program in its schools, run entirely by volunteers. Other communities are doing more. Vickie is developing plans, and can be reached at [email protected].
There are over 140 crashes a year on Ridge Avenue between Howard and Emerson Streets. Eight schools have jurisdictions which cross Ridge, and crashes often coincide with school pick-up and drop–off times. Parents have begun demanding action, and the city is considering several options to slow and better organize traffic.
There are many proposals for improving Ridge (see this blog), and we believe all should be considered with an open mind.
But the bottom line is that Ridge needs to change. Go Evanston plans to be involved in the process of figuring out what those changes should be. We have one guiding principle: The safety and quality of life of the larger community around Ridge should take precedence over the demand for greater traffic flow. People trying to cross Ridge, on foot and bike, are as important as those trying to drive down Ridge.
Go Evanston also believes making Ridge safer will require a broad-based effort. New restrictions are meaningless if they aren’t enforced. Enforcement is part of the solution, but so is education. Education can improve driver behavior, but design is also critical to change driving habits. There is no magic solution to making Ridge safer: only a sustained, concerted effort will work.
As Go Evanston cranks our 2018 campaigns into high gear we will need help. We will need people to work with schools to setup trainings sessions, we need trainers, we need people who want to meet with public officials, people who want to talk to their neighbors, we need social media posters, and most of all we need people who want to work on something important. Please email us at [email protected] if you can help. We will have more details about volunteer activities in future newsletters.
Thanks in advance for joining our efforts.