Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Be Bright helps Madison cyclists see and be seen

Last night on the East Isthmus Path, bicyclists who didn't have lights after dark were stopped by Madison Police. The good news for these folks is that they weren't given a $76.20 ticket, as state law and Madison ordinance allows, but instead were given a front and rear light. Yes, they had to listen to a quick safety talk and wait around while we attached the lights to their bikes, but isn't free stuff better than a ticket?

One problem with giving out free lights (or helmets), is that these programs can discourage people from making the same purchases from local bike shops. But in this case, local bike shops are very supportive, and partnered with the project by having us hand out coupons for discounts on helmets and other bike accessories. The lights that we gave out were pretty basic, and most year round, all weather, all-day-and-night commuters choose a more powerful or rechargeable light.

Bike Walk Madison organized the volunteers, and the lights were purchased at cost from Planet Bike via a grant from the Dane County Bicycle Association. If sufficient donations are received, this program will continue. If you would like to donate to the program, you can send a check to Bicycle Federation of Wisconsin, with a note that it is to support the Be Bright program. Right now, they are not set up to take on line donations for this program, so please, checks only. The address is: Bicycle Federation of Wisconsin [attn: Be Bright], PO Box 1224, Madison, WI 53701-1224.

Thanks to the volunteers who came out to help out:
Jay Ferm (Advocacy Director at Planet Bike), India Viola (co-owner of We Are All Mechanics), Amanda White (Assoc Exec Dir at Bike Fed), Craig Jackson, Alex DePillis, Mitch Nussbaum, and Liz Zelandais. Unfortunately, I didn't get the names of all the MPD officers who also helped out, but Chris Masterson - a bike commuter himself - was the organizer on that end.

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