By JOHN ROSZKOWSKI
Bicycle enthusiasts and bike shop owners from Lake County are joining forces to advocate for safer roadways for cyclists and pedestrians.
About 30 people, including representatives from different bicycle clubs and bike shop owners along the North Shore, attended a Nov. 18 meeting at Alberto's Cycles in Highland Park to push for more bicycle and pedestrian paths along roadways throughout the county.
Daryl Kunz of Deerfield, a member and former president of Velo Club Roubaix, which is spearheading the effort, said the meeting was attended by members of bike clubs from several North Shore communities including Deerfield, Highland Park, Lake Forest and Northbrook. He said another meeting is tentatively scheduled for Jan. 13 at Alberto's Cycles.
Goal to have a voice
"The goal is to get bicycle club members and shop owners involved with having a voice on how roads are improved and made more cycling friendly," said Kunz.
Velo Club Roubaix and other bicycle clubs organized the meeting because of concerns about bicycle safety after a number of cyclists were hit by cars.
Brendan George, owner of Alberto's Cycles and president of Alberto's Sport bicycle club in Highland Park, said providing safer areas for cyclists to ride is "a very important issue." George was injured when he was hit by a pickup truck while cycling on St. Mary's Road in August.
Work with planners
Bike club members' plan to work with local road planners to develop "complete streets" policies, which incorporate pedestrian and bike paths and shoulder areas when roads are rebuilt or new roads are constructed.
"There's been a lack of complete streets in our major roadway systems and that limits peoples' choices," said Randy Neufeld, chief strategy officer for the Active Transportation Alliance (formerly the Chicagoland Bicycle Federation), who attended the meeting.
Neufeld said members from the different clubs will meet with transportation officials from local municipalities to encourage them to develop complete streets policies that incorporate "bicycle, pedestrian and transit uses in addition to automobile uses."'
He said the groups also plan to meet with officials from the Lake County Division of Transportation, which recently received a federal grant to develop a complete streets program for county highways.
Michelle Feldman, a former village Deerfield trustee and newly elected County Board member in District 22, has pledged to work with the bicycle clubs in their efforts to develop policies at the county level.
"I think their concern is how to make roads safer all around, and I'd like to offer direction in how we can go about it," she said.
Kunz said the clubs are seeking funds to expand bicycle advocacy efforts in Lake County. Persons interested in donating to the cause can visit the Active Transportation Alliance's Web site at www.biketraffic.org.
Copyright 2008, Deerfield Review, Pioneer Press. All rights reserved. REPRODUCTION PROHIBITED.