November is shaping up to be another busy month for Bike Walk CT, a member-supported non-profit organization making cycling and walking safe, feasible and attractive for a healthier, cleaner Connecticut. Bike Walk CT is once again offering the League of American Bicyclist-designed Traffic Skills 101 program, a day long course to give cyclists the skills, knowledge and confidence to handle on-road cycling in traffic. The program will be held on Sunday, November 10 at Bishops Corner in West Hartford.
Just days later, bicycling and walking enthusiasts will celebrate the progress made by Bike Walk CT at the organization’s Annual Dinner and Silent Auction, to be held on Tuesday, November 12 at Central Connecticut State University.
During the evening celebration, Department of Economic and Community Development Deputy Commissioner Kip Bergstrom will lead a discussion of the important and growing role of active transportation and bikeable, walkable communities in Connecticut's economy and tourism industry.
Bike Walk CT works locally to increase grassroots efforts to make communities better places to bike and walk; at the state legislature to advance laws that protect the rights of cyclists and walkers, and at the DOT to make sure that policies and engineering practices that will improve conditions for cyclists are implemented. The organization is also active at the federal level, working cooperatively with national organizations to ensure continued funding for biking and walking projects.
Bergstrom has 30 years of experience as a strategist, business executive, economic development professional and place-maker. His DECD portfolio includes the development of the innovation economy, statewide branding, as well as the arts and culture, historic preservation and tourism functions.
Bike Walk Connecticut was formed in 2005 as the Central Connecticut Bicycle Alliance (CCBA), with a mission to advocate for bike-friendly facilities and policies in central Connecticut to benefit all bicyclists, both recreational riders and commuters. CCBA received 501(C)(3) status in January 2006. In April 2010, CCBA broadened its mission to include walking issues, adopted a statewide focus, and changed its name to Bike Walk Connecticut.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that 618 cyclists were killed in the United States in automobile accidents in 2010 (the last year for which statistics are available). That same year, 32,885 bikers were injured in traffic crashes. Although the numbers have declined since 2005 — when 43,510 bikers were injured, 786 of them fatally — these rates of injuries and deaths highlight cyclists' continued exposure to serious risks.