Biking advocates assembled at Dover Downs on Friday for the 4th Annual Delaware Bike Summit.
DelDOT Secretary Shailen Bhatt and DNREC Secretary Collin O’Mara joined community leaders, local officials, and others to help formulate ideas to make Delaware more bicycle friendly.
The summit’s keynote speaker was Andy Clarke, executive director of the League of American Bicyclists, who recently ranked Delaware the 10th most bike friendly state in the country. That ranking was helped in part by Delaware’s financial commitment to trails. At Gov. Markell’s urging, the General Assembly allocated $13 million dollars to the Delaware Trails and Pathways Initiative.
“There is a lot of stuff that goes into being a bike friendly state, but honestly it really starts at the top,” said Clarke. “The Governor has really shown leadership in the state and nationwide in what states can do,” said Clarke.
Clarke also praised Bhatt’s leadership.
“(Bhatt) understands the role that cycling can play without getting too far ahead of things,” said Clarke.
Delaware continues to make improvements for cyclists. A new bicycle safety education campaign was introduced at the summit. It targets at both cyclists and drivers, encouraging them to “see it both ways”.
And Monday, Sept. 10, Newark opens the Pomeroy and Newark Rail Trail, connecting the James F. Hall Trail with White Clay Creek State Park.
While improvements made by the state are important, Clarke believes that choices made by the bicycling public are key.
“You have all the leadership, the funding, the opportunity, the communities that can be really great places to bike,” said Clarke. “It really takes showing up and supporting the initiatives to create the infrastructure where people are going to feel safe.”