BENTONVILLE, Ark., September 21, 2020 (Newswire.com) - Bike to Work Week is Sept. 21-27, a good time to remind Arkansas motorists and bicycle riders about new legislation that impacts their daily commutes as well as a year-long initiative by the Arkansas Good Roads Foundation called Good Roads are Safe Roads that aims to educate about the new law.
Seventy-four percent of Arkansans say bicycles can be both functional and recreational, according to an Atomik Research survey of 1,005 Arkansans from June 26-29, 2020.
Regional investments in biking infrastructure and the increased desire for a healthy lifestyle due to the pandemic have driven a surge in riding bikes. With the convergence of bicycles on the road, safety is of the utmost importance.
The new Arkansas legislation states that people riding bicycles can treat a stop sign like a yield sign and a red light like a stop sign when there is no oncoming traffic. Bike riders must still wait their turn at a stop sign or a red light if there are other vehicles, cyclists or pedestrians ahead of them. However, if those intersections are clear, they are free to make use of the new law and proceed with caution.
“This new law helps keep people riding their bikes safe by allowing them to make their way through intersections more quickly,” said Joe Quinn, executive director of the Arkansas Good Roads Foundation, which oversees the Good Roads are Safe Roads campaign. “The legislation also helps keep traffic moving on our streets, something that benefits all of us as our state’s population grows and more motorists and cyclists join us on the roads.”
Many bike riders and motorists are unaware of these new rules. Seventy-six percent of Arkansans did not know that a cyclist could yield/slow down at a stop sign if there was no oncoming traffic, according to the survey. Eighty-one percent of Arkansans did not know a bicyclist could stop and then go at a red traffic light if there is no oncoming traffic.
Good Roads are Safe Roads, an effort of the Arkansas Good Roads Foundation and funded through grants from the Walton Family Foundation, aims to educate motorists and people commuting by bicycle about the new law.
The campaign focuses on four key messages: upsurge, safety, law and economic growth. Upsurge refers to the increase in bicycle usage in Arkansas.
“We are really focusing in on these points because they all work together; more people riding bikes has led to a need for more safety awareness as well as a better understanding of the rules of the road,” Quinn said. “More people riding bikes in well-integrated biking communities also leads to economic growth, something that should be important to everyone.”
The Northwest Arkansas economy receives more than $137 million in economic benefits due to bicycling every year, according to a study released in 2018 that was commissioned by the Walton Family Foundation, PeopleForBikes and BikeNWA.
“Riding bicycles benefits our economy through recreation, transportation to and from work, tourism and bicycle-related sales and services,” said Graham Cobb, president and CEO of the Greater Bentonville Area Chamber of Commerce. “Developing a rich bike riding culture in our communities is a financial and growth magnet for our economy.”
Executive Director - Arkansas Good Roads Foundation
About Good Roads are Safe Roads
Good Roads are Safe Roads is a year-long campaign to raise community awareness of roadway laws for cyclists and motorists alike, ensuring safer roads for everyone. It is a collective effort to help teach our growing population of cyclists, motorists, and pedestrians about the laws, safety and relationships of our roadways.
About Arkansas Good Roads Foundation
The Arkansas Good Roads/Transportation Council was established in 1975 as a 501(c)(3) non-profit, tax-exempt and tax-deductible organization. The purpose of the Foundation is to promote adequate funding and financing for the planning, development, construction and maintenance of a safe and efficient highway, road, street and bridge system that facilitates statewide economic growth, thus increasing private-sector job creation and retention.
Source: Arkansas Good Roads Foundation