When some people experience the joys of cycling, they want to spread the word far and wide to others-- or at least to people in their own neighborhood. At the January Evanston Bicycle Club meeting we heard from enthusiastic volunteers from local advocacy groups who are dedicated to getting more people on bikes and making it safer to ride
Friends of Elk Grove
Dave Simmons got started in bicycle advocacy after earning League Cycling Instructor (LCI) certification from the League of American Bicyclists. He formed the Friends of Cycling in Elk Grove (www.egvbikes.org) in 2011 to promote, support, and improve cycling in the northwest suburbs. The organization currently has 75 members and acts as a mini version of the Active Transportation Alliance, a larger advocacy supporting the Chicagoland area. By forming partnerships with the village, the park district, and businesses the group’s activities have included:
The Go Evanston (www.goevanston.org) group was formed in 2016 in response to the backlash over the Dodge Avenue bike lanes according to Vicki Jacobson, planner, and Evanston resident. The bike lanes were funded by the State with the support of the Active Transportation Alliance but some residents were vocal in objecting to the change. A group got together that included several EBC members to bring people together, be inclusive, informational, and educational to come up with a multi-faceted and multi-modal solutions.
Since then the group has established a mission of making Evanston streets work for all users, regardless of mode, age, ability, or income through education, engagement and encouragement. Some of their initiatives are:
Ride of Silence
The Ride of Silence (www.rideofsilence.org) started in 2003 in Dallas when the friends of a cyclist that was killed after being clipped by the mirror of a bus organized a bike ride where participants rode at a slow pace in complete silence in remembrance of him and all individuals who have been injured or killed while riding on public roadways. Elizabeth Adamczyk is the organizer of the Chicago ride which was held for the first time in 2005. The free rides are now held in all seven continents over the world the evening of the third Wednesday in May.
The ride has evolved into a grass roots, collaborative effort with involvement from bike shops, bike clubs, aldermanic wards, and city officials. In Chicago the ride has a police escort. Advocacy has stemmed from the ride: