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Recap of Illinois Bike Summit


I recently attended the 4th Annual Illinois Bike Summit in Champaign, IL. Over 250 people participated in this event that featured speakers, breakout sessions, and round-table discussions on topics ranging from bicycle-friendly initiatives nationwide to community bicycle workshops.


Hosted by Ride Illinois and Champaign County Bikes, the event brought together bike trail advocates, architects, municipal planners, cycling clubs, bike shop owners and interested citizens.


Several of the sessions were focused on rider education initiatives including bicycle training programs for children, a discussion of Illinois bicycle laws and needed updates, and an overview of the Illinois Bicycle Safety Quiz.


​Read more about the quiz and the effort to build awareness in local communities.



The keynote speaker was Steve Clark from the League of American Bicyclists. Steve travels across the country on bike visiting communities and helping them become more bike friendly.


​He shared that riding in Bike Friendly Communities had grown 105% since 2002. He cited Davis, CA where 20.3% of people use a bike to get to work, as the city with the highest rate of riding in the nation. Locally he mentioned Urbana (6.4%) and Evanston (3.8%) as good examples. For comparison, Chicago is at 1.7% and climbing. ​


Another interesting statistic: 50% of kids in Palo Alto bike to school. The speaker told stories of local moms apologizing as they dropped off kids via car. Talk about a cultural shift in attitudes!



Several eBike models were on display as well as this beautiful commuter bike from Neutral Cycles.

Community planning initiatives also featured big at the summit. there were sessions on winning grants for trail bike-ways, developing city bike plans, and a panel of speakers on community bicycle workshops to support and engage youth and social justice concerns. Read more about the success of Working Bikes which collects used bikes in Chicago and ships them to overseas to developing countries.


Overall, it was a wonderful forum for bringing together individuals and organizations to advance biking initiatives. I'm looking forward to next year's summit.

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