The League of American Bicyclists (LAB) has given South Bend very specific guidelines on how to maintain and enhance its designation as a Bicycle Friendly Community. In all, there were some 41 recommendations, but five stand out as being the most important. Currently, The City has a Bronze Level rating. By incorporating some of these suggestions, South Bend could advance to the next level, which is Silver. Here are the suggestions from the LAB:
1. Continue to expand public education campaigns to promote the share the road message and the rights and responsibilities of all users. There are some new tools for you to use. See a new motorist education video at http://www.bikelib.org/safety-education/motorists/driver-education/ It is vital to make motorists and cyclists aware of their rights and responsibilities on the road. Also, see the excellent Look Campaign from New York City: http://www.nyc.gov/html/look/html/about/about_us_text.shtml and use the valuable information from the League’s Ride Better Tips in your outreach education and encouragement efforts. See the Ride Better Tips pages at http://www.bikeleague.org/resources/better/index.php
2. Make stronger connections between bicycling community and law enforcement. Ensure that police officers are educated on the “Share the Road” message and have general knowledge regarding traffic law as it applies to bicyclists. The city should implement regular training for officers on this like an Enforcement for Bicycle Safety seminar. This is a great continuing education opportunity for law enforcement. http://www.bicyclinginfo.org/bikesafe/case_studies/casestudy.cfm?CS_NUM=801
3. Adopt a Complete Streets policy and offer implementation guidance. Every street should accommodate bicyclists, pedestrians, motorists and transit users of all abilities and ages. http://www.completestreets.org/
4. Increase the number of arterial streets that have wide shoulders or bike lanes. Continue to expand the bicycle network and increase network connectivity through the use of bike lanes, shared lane arrows and signed routes. On-street improvements coupled with the expansion of the off-street system will continue to increase use and improve safety. These improvements will also increase the effectiveness of encouragement efforts by providing a broader range of facility choices for users of various abilities and comfort levels.
5. Ensure that bicycle-safety education is a routine part of public education. Implement a Safe Routes to School program that emphasizes bicycling and encourage all schools to get involved. In Arlington, Virginia every school in the County was visited by a team with representatives from Department of Public Works, the Police and Schools to access conditions for walking and biking to each school. A list of problems and solutions was developed measures were identified to address problems. Short-term projects such as painting crosswalks were done right away while larger construction projects are on-going. Funding is available in the federal transportation bill, SAFETEA-LU, among several other sources at both the federal and state levels. See www.saferoutesinfo.org for more information.