I BIKE is one year old.
When I Bike was started as a committee of Guam's Cycling Federation a year ago, Darryl Taggerty and I wanted to raise biking awareness on Guam by creating a biking advocacy group. A long range goal of bike lanes and bike paths were also included in our plans. After nine village rides and more than 500 riders, we learned many things:
1. Biking is a great family event. Many families enjoyed the rides. In fact, 50 to 60 percent of the riders on the community rides were families.
2. Biking is safe on Guam. The vehicle accident statistics and our own community ride experiences have shown that when simple rules are followed, biking is the safest way to travel on Guam; safer than walking and much much safer than motorized travel. The rules are simple:
- Wear a helmet and good shoes;
- Stay to the far right of the street or on the side walk;
- Ride single file;
- Obey road signs and traffic lights;
- Avoid streets with over 35mph speed limits; and
- Avoid riding at night.
3. GovGuam has not used any federal money for bike infrastructure projects. This is puzzling. Why would a tropical island NOT want to increase the health and quality of life of its people? There are conspiracy theories out there that I won't get into. Secretary Ray LaHood, the Transportation secretary of the United States, is aware of Guam's shortcomings with regards to no money being spent on bike infrastructure projects. We shall see what transpires in the coming months. Saipan has had a beautiful bike path for 10 years right along the beach.
4. The Japanese love to bike. I visited Japan for the fourth time this summer and my wife and I coordinate a Japanese student exchange program. Talking with many Japanese people and witnessing their biking habits, I have concluded: The Japanese would utilize and enjoy more activities on Guam such as riding bikes. Millions of Japanese have already visited Guam and they would come back if they had a reason to return. Biking could be that reason. A fresh and healthy way to see the island that is family-friendly would appeal to Japanese who have already been to Guam. Japanese are comfortable on bikes. It's the way millions of Japanese travel.
5. A bike route is a logical first step. The central bike route includes Guam's major shopping areas, major hotels, schools, H-2 biker commuters, and the hospital along with the many attractions. Caley Johnson, a consultant for the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, designed a beautiful map of the central bike route. He is working with GovGuam on saving Guam petrol dollars. This map is a start. Come ride the central bike route this Labor Day at 9 a.m. starting at Micronesia Mall.
With the help of NREL and the Department of Transportation, maybe we can achieve bike lanes and bike paths on Guam.
Happy birthday, I Bike. It was a great first year. I'm looking forward to many more.