By Shane Jacobus, Severna Park Voice
Established just this past year as a project of the Leadership Anne Arundel Flagship Program, Bicycle Advocates for Annapolis & Anne Arundel County (Bike AAA) maintains a three-fold mission: create a healthier, more livable Annapolis and Anne Arundel County by promoting bicycling for transportation, recreation and fitness; advocate for better bicycling conditions and transportation choices, and educate children, adults and motorists about safe bicycling.
Bike AAA members Joe Piette and Matt Jones are league-certified bike safety instructors. “Anne Arundel County has an active outdoor culture but we need more safe places to ride to get more people to ride to work, school, shopping and other destinations,” said Jon Korin, founding president of Bike AAA.
“Government has the plans to implement better infrastructure for cycling, and part of our role is to advocate for faster, smarter implementation. We will also provide bike safety programs to ensure cyclists ride safely,” he explained.
Sadly, there were two cyclist fatalities in Anne Arundel County in 2013, one due to cyclist error and the other caused by driver error. Korin said the cycling community is committed to bringing something positive from these tragedies by promoting safe and legal behavior from both cyclists and drivers.
Jon Korin and his wife Kathy moved to Severna Park two years ago just as he was preparing to retire from the IT industry. One of the reasons they chose to live in Severna Park was the B&A Bike Trail, which he calls an absolute gem. Before moving, Jon and Kathy used to drive from Olney to BWI so they could ride their bikes down the trail into Annapolis.
“It pains me to see that so many recreational cyclists stop at Boulters Way rather than continue into Annapolis,” said Korin. “It’s an example of the importance of safer connections between trails like the B&A and bike lanes like those on Bay Ridge Road in Eastport.”
Bike AAA has four immediate goals - increase safe bicycling through education and improved condition, partner with the City of Annapolis to attain League of American Bicyclists (LAB) Bronze Bike-friendly Community status, provide a forum and stronger voice for bicycling through collaboration among residents, government, businesses, schools, nonprofits, clubs and other groups, and improve bicycling conditions and choices both on and off road.
In 2012, the city of Annapolis applied for the LAB Bronze Bike-friendly status but instead received an honorable mention. One of the deficiencies was that there was no bicycle advocacy group at that time, which is where Korin said Bike AAA comes in. The group is now working with city, county and state officials to promote cycling, improve safe infrastructure for transportation, fitness and recreation, and improve safe behavior among cyclists, drivers and pedestrians.
Some of Bike AAA’s other accomplishments include providing input to the Anne Arundel County Pedestrian/Bike Master Plan, participating at numerous county transportation planning meetings, sending letters to the Maryland Attorney General regarding charges in cycling fatalities, interacting with Healthy Anne Arundel, Annapolis Regional Transportation Management Association, Friends of AA County Trails, East Coast Greenway, County Bike Police and other groups, and providing the first bike commuter count for the city of Annapolis.
For more information or to join the group, visit <a href="http://www.bikeaaa.org">http://www.bikeaaa.org</a>. There are a variety of tax-deductible annual membership levels for individuals, families, businesses and other organizations, starting at $10 for students and seniors.
Via <a href="http://www.severnaparkvoicemd.com/community/bicycle-advocates-annapolis-and-anne-arundel-county-now-seeking-members">http://www.severnaparkvoicemd.com/community/bicycle-advocates-annapolis-and-anne-arundel-county-now-seeking-members</a>
Their website: <a href="http://bikeaaa.org/">http://bikeaaa.org/</a>