Urgent Need to Improve Road Safety: BikeWalk North Carolina at NC State Fair and Sustain Charlotte's Biketoberfest

BikeWalk NC at NC State Fair 2023 and Sustain Charlotte's Biketoberfest

Two fun distinct and engaging traffic awareness and cycling events this past weekend:

BikeWalk NC at NC State Fair 2023 

BWNC’s purpose at the fair - and always: advocate for improved safety and access for non-motorized traffic and improve situational awareness/behavior on the road for all road users to reduce road injuries and deaths. Sure, actually reducing traffic accidents, the rate of which is only increasing despite every rule, regulation and enforcement measure in place, is a steep climb.

Behavior change is key, and behavior change, the most difficult challenge to all of us, will only have a fighting chance to succeed if we:

  • collectively agree on root problems
  • understand the urgent need for change regarding personal and mutual responsibility/accountability
  • develop practical, evidence-based standards and expectations that resonate positively with all of us on our roads
Regarding the "root problem" identification point, it was quite interesting to hear both how much and how little some people knew about safe road behavior at the state fair, which very much put a finger on some of the challenges we face to bend the accident rate curve down.

More about how we are positioning ourselves to make positive change soon – and there are many efforts in the works. The key here: aligning those efforts to maximize positive effect.

Sustain Charlotte's Biketoberfest 

Then there was Sustain Charlotte’s major annual fundraiser, Biketoberfest, on what was truly a “wedding picture perfect” Sunday. I was there with AARP, which I’ve come to learn is a vibrant organization dedicated to much more than senior citizen (ha!, like me) life enrichment.

After working with fellow AARP reps stamping rider “I stopped here” booklets at the ride start, I hopped on the bike to ride the 16-mile route. What an interesting ride. There were many options riders could take, and I rode the set course that went mostly on lightly trafficked city streets, along the Charlotte Rail Trail that ran on dedicated bike lanes and also through commuter train platform stops. All fine – except that the signs directing riders where to turn were few, far between and difficult to follow, and everyone I spoke with on the ride agreed - with a good deal of frustration.

As soon as I finished the ride, I mentioned that problem to two ride organizers. They both appreciated the feedback, and together we talked about positive logistical changes for next year, which I offered to help with as both a BikeWalkNC and AARP member.

Now, it’s about following up on my part, which I’m doing via email to those I met at both events. Ha! That follow up, particularly through eventual personal engagement, which is already starting to happen, is one of the most fun parts of what I do both as a "Safe Streets For All" advocate and Breitz! brand owner!

As promised, more soon! 

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