The Michiana Area Council of Governments (MACOG) is a regional intergovernmental agency established to foster cooperative, coordinated and comprehensive planning activities, including bicycle and pedestrian planning. They issue a quarterly newsletter, the MACOGazette. The most recent issue reported on a bicycle awareness campaign, a bike commuting survey, and safe routes to school.
Bicycle commuting in the MACOG Region is on the rise. As with any commuting increase, safety awareness has moved to the forefront. As part of its annual effort to promote cycling safety for school children MACOG again distributed bicycle safety brochures to all fourth and fifth graders within the MACOG Region. The brochure provided “bike right” safety information, which includes details about the five most common bicycle accidents and how to prevent them.
Additionally, staff developed a new 30 second bicycle commercial now appearing as part of the Partners for Clean Air media blitz. This safety commercial, titled “Bike Right,” emphasizes key points while biking such as biking on the “right” side of the road, biking with appropriate or the “right” safety gear obeying traffic rules, wearing the “right” high visibility clothing, and sharing the “right”-of-way with other traffic. The TV spot began in May and will run throughout the summer. The Bike Right spot can be viewed at www.macog.com, click on ‘Bicycle and Pedestrian Planning’ on the left-hand side of the screen, and then click the blue ‘Safety Video’ button that will appear in the middle of the screen.
Nappanee Bike Commuting Survey
Several bicycling accidents occurred in the Nappanee area prompting the area Chamber of Commerce, the Mayor’s Office, citizens, and the MACOG to meet and develop a bike commuting survey. The survey focuses on the Nappanee, Elkhart County area in and around US 6. Several fatalities have occurred in this area throughout the past year and a half.
MACOG distributed nearly 1,700 bicycle surveys, targeting both the Amish community and other commuting cyclists in the Nappanee area. The first 125 respondents submitting a survey were sent a set of front and back LED flashing bicycle safety lights for increased bicycle safety as encouragement to return the surveys. The response rate was approximately 27%.
The survey data has been mapped and is being analyzed. Once the final report is complete, MACOG staff will meet with the various jurisdictions to discuss and implement safety opportunities.
Safe Routes to School
Safe Routes to School Grant Applications were submitted at the end of May. The City of Goshen submitted a project for a new sidewalk along the streets surrounding Prairie View Elementary. In addition to the City of Goshen, St. Joseph County has also submitted an application with the cooperation of Friends of Granger Paths and Penn-Harris-Madison School District which proposed a path between Mary Frank and Northpoint Elementary Schools.
Announcements regarding these applications will be announced near the end of August.