At a recent city council meeting in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, Councilor Greg Jamison held up a copy of the League’s Traffic Skills 101 booklet. He picked Michael Christensen out of the crowd and praised the local League Cycling Instructor for giving him new insight — “a huge educational process” — on the rights and concerns of bicyclists in his community.
In fact, the Councilor added, his time in the saddle made such an impact that “it has changed my mind” on bicycling policy.
We all know that LCIs are making our streets safer by teaching critical skills, like scanning and signaling, to cyclists in their communities. But Christensen proved this week that LCIs are powerful advocates at the policy level, as well.
Just a few weeks after Christensen took Jamison for a ride, the city council unanimously passed a new bicycle ordinance that:
- allows bicyclists to ride two abreast (banned at the state level)
- requires motorists give bicyclists three feet to pass and
- emphasizes cyclists’ right to take the lane if it’s too narrow to share.
And that’s not all. Currently, South Dakota is one of the few states in the country that hasn’t adopted distracted driving legislation — but Sioux Falls is making progress at the local level. Just a few hours before the new bicycle ordinance passed, a council committee moved forward on a proposal to ban texting while driving.
Kudos to Christensen and the whole city council!
Carolyn SzczepanskiCarolyn joined the League in March 2012, after two years at the Alliance for Biking & Walking. In addition to managing the League's blog, magazine and other communications, Carolyn organized the first National Women's Bicycling Summit and launched the League's newest program: Women Bike. Before she crossed over to advocacy, she was a professional journalist for nearly 10 years.