I’m writing you today because I know you love cycling in Sonoma County as much as I do: the joy of traveling under the power of your own body; the feel of sun and wind on your skin; the satisfaction of conquering a physical challenge; the feeling of connection with this gorgeous place we are so lucky to call home. At the Sonoma County Bicycle Coalition, we believe EVERYONE should have access to this experience! In 2020, we plan to ramp up business participation in Bike to Work Month and produce new community events. Your contribution will help inspire, enable, and empower more of our neighbors to experience the joy of cycling.
Many folks who’d like to give cycling a try don’t, out of justifiable fear – three cyclists were killed in the past few weeks alone! To make cycling safer in Sonoma County, we need to change roads and bridges and create new protected bikeways. In order to do that, we need to change minds and policies and votes. In the coming year, we have the opportunity to influence planning and funding for bicycle infrastructure that will make it safer for everyone who travels on two wheels. Your contribution will help keep the needs of the cycling community in front of the public, our elected officials and their staff.
SMART will put on the March 2020 ballot a measure to renew their quarter cent sales tax. We have relentlessly pressured the SMART board to guarantee funding for the completion of the multiuse path promised in the original 2008 Measure Q. On the November 2020 ballot, the Sonoma County Transportation Authority will ask for a reauthorization of the Measure M sales tax. We are already in conversations with SCTA staff and board to significantly increase the amount of funding dedicated to bicycle infrastructure.
Attending government meetings, building relationships with staff and with other allied organizations, talking to reporters, writing letters & petitions, researching policy alternatives, tracking the agendas of nine cities, five county agencies and three regional agencies takes a lot of time. This year we are doubling our fundraising goal to $50,000 in hopes of hiring a part-time advocacy coordinator to make us even more effective in these efforts.
Seventy percent of our current budget comes from county contracts for youth bicycle education. Our dedicated and experienced Safe Routes to School staff are top notch, teaching thousands of local students how to ride safely & responsibly. While education is crucial, it needs to be integrated with engineering, enforcement, and evaluation components to truly shift more folks out of cars and onto bicycles. All the bike rodeos in the world are for naught if the streets surrounding our schools have no bike lanes or crosswalks! We depend upon your membership dues and donations to cover our operating expenses, including staff time for advocacy efforts.
Some of our activities this past year included monitoring the trial of Courtney Rudin, convicted of vehicular manslaughter in the 2016 death of Amy Suyama during the Tour de Fuzz. We continue to follow the cases of other cyclists who have been injured on the road. A growing homeless encampment threatened safety on the Joe Rodota Trail; we not only gathered over a thousand signatures urging elected officials to take action, we collaborated with homeless advocates in promoting the creation of a safe, sanctioned camping area elsewhere so that our trails can continue to provide safe, car-free transportation corridor.
We expanded our adult Smart Cycling program out into the broader community, with classes co-sponsored by Kaiser and Community Support Network; next year we will be bringing classes to branches of Sonoma County Library. We’ve beefed up training for the leaders of our Biker Chicks women’s rides, expanded the number of Valet Bike Parking events, and partnered with the city of Sebastopol to promote their new bike lanes. Our rotating monthly Happy Hours have deepened our connections with cyclists in the farther reaches of the County.
Your tax-deductible contribution will help us keep doing all this, and more!
Thanks for your support!
Eris Weaver, Executive Director