More bike lanes. Safer streets. And a spot for all of New Haven’s neighborhoods at the bike month table.
Cycling and green transit advocates called for all that Wednesday night at a celebratory kickoff party for New Haven’s third annual Bike Month, running from April 19 through the end of May.
Celebrating with Green Drinks New Haven, bike month board members, bike enthusiasts, Rock to Rock organizers, environmentalists and city officials packed the Bradley Street Bike Co-Op, cheering on owner John Martin and bike advocate Caroline Smith as they spoke about bike month’s evolution, and some of the programs taking place.
Spanning next month, those programs focus on getting bike month into every part of the city, so that “every single person in every single neighborhood ... has a seat at the table,” Smith said. As she spoke, bike month posters advocating for four lanes winked out from one end of the co-op; photos of bikers beckoned from another.
After this month’s Rock to Rock ride on Earth Day, bike month gets going in earnest in May with a May Day Bike Brigade, scheduled in collaboration with Unidad Latina en Acción (ULA) on a national day of protest to support immigrants.
Then are a series of collaborations with local bike group Outspokin’, several “Tour de Brew” rides to breweries, clinics on bike safety and maintenance, and outdoor rides championing local activism, independent business, and outdoor recreation. Bike advocate Paul Hammer is also planning a bike-themed film festival for the end of the month.
Smith pointed to Bike Month’s burgeoning “Open Streets” events—neighborhood block parties and rides designed around bike safety, health, and education—as Bike Month’s most significant. These, she said, are intended to empower community members while breaking down obstacles to owning and riding a bike that frequently exist in lower-income neighborhoods and communities of color. After growing the open streets programming last year, Smith said she is excited to kick off this year’s series.
Thanks to new funding from Greater New Haven Green Fund and national nonprofit PeopleForBikes, those events can grow this year. City transit czar Doug Hausladen added ground breaking on the Edgewood Bike Lane and opening of Long Wharf Drive this summer as also growing that mission.
This year, Bike Month s dedicated to the memory of bike advocate and bike-batmobile builder Devin Skelton, who died in August of last year. To find out more about activities or how to get involved, visit its website.