Colorado’s Governor John Hickenlooper has announced the state’s commitment of more than US$100 million over the next four years to enhance Colorado’s ability to become the best US state for bike riding.
“Our goal is to make Colorado the best state for biking in the country, which will help fuel our robust economic growth and tourism industry, move us toward a cleaner environment and advance our goal of being the healthiest state in the nation,” said Hickenlooper.
Colorado is often ranked the fittest state, and was recently ranked the most physically active state in the US. Even with these accolades, Colorado has an obesity rate of 23%. A nationwide US study found that kids only spend 4-7 minutes outside in unstructured play every day, but spend 7-10 hours a day staring at video screens. Biking is one of the ways Colorado is aiming to change these stats.
The four-year plan and US$100 million budget will allow Colorado to put more bikes in people’s hands and make it safer to ride bikes by adding bike lanes and improving driver education.
“We want to encourage riders of all shapes, sizes and abilities by making biking as safe and accessible as possible statewide,” said Ken Gart, Colorado’s ‘bike czar’. “With more than 5,000 miles of biking trails throughout the state, and events like Pedal The Plains and the USA Pro Challenge, Colorado is poised to take this lead.”
PeopleForBikes – the Boulder, Colorado-based bicycling movement – is aiming to make riding better for all Americans by uniting millions of individuals, thousands of businesses and hundreds of communities to support bike riding that is safe, appealing and easy to access.
“On behalf of the entire bike industry, I’d like to thank Governor Hickenlooper for sharing his vision for making Colorado the best state for bicycling,” said Tim Blumenthal, President of PeopleForBikes. “Today, more than ever, PeopleForBikes is proud to call Colorado home. We will be excited to see the ripple effect across the country of the Governor’s dynamic plan for biking in Colorado: which states will take today’s proclamation as a healthy challenge?”
At the state level, the Colorado Pedals Project, Bicycle Colorado, Great Outdoors Colorado, and many other organizations are working with the Colorado Department of Transportation, Office of Economic Development and other state agencies, to facilitate strategy, distribute money, and accomplish shared goals.
Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) invests Lottery proceeds in Colorado’s rivers, parks, open space, wildlife, and trails and has been the state’s single largest funding source for trails.
“GOCO is excited to be a part of this new initiative and opportunities to leverage funding to provide places for people to get outside from the backyard to the backcountry,” said Lise Aangeenbrug, GOCO Executive Director.
Bicycle Colorado, one of the US nation’s first statewide bicycle advocacy groups and – now the largest – encourages and promotes bicycling, to increase safety, improve conditions and provide a voice for people who ride bicycles in Colorado.
“Bicycle Colorado is excited that more children, families and new cyclists will riding thanks to the improvements this funding will provide,” said Dan Grunig, Executive Director at Bicycle Colorado. “Improved health and a stronger economy are other perks to come from this investment in better bicycling.”
Hickenlooper made the funding announcement at the Interbike Industry Breakfast presented by PeopleForBikes. Interbike is the largest bicycle trade event in North America, bringing together manufacturers, retailers, industry advocates and media to conduct the business of cycling. He is the first governor to speak at Interbike in the show’s 33-year history.