Members of the Newport City Council will consider a resolution to improve bicycle safety on Newport city streets at its regularly scheduled virtual meeting on Wednesday, June 9th.

Before and during the time that City Council discusses the resolution, bicyclists and other supporters will be rallying in front of City Hall and at Bike Newport in support for bike lanes and shared lanes.

The resolution, “Requesting the City Administration implement bike lanes on city streets pursuant to the R.I. Bike Mobility Plan, has been introduced by Councilor Lynn Ceglie and Councilor Jamie Bova states the city’s commitment to safety for all road users, recognizes there are more people riding bicycles, and encourages pavement markings to improve safety. It does not, however, call for a plan or a timeline to implement the improvements.

Local bike advocates and community leaders have asked the City Council to improve the resolution with a request for a plan and timeline for bike lanes and shared lanes on priority streets as soon as possible, and not to wait for the upcoming Transportation Plan which is several years away from completion and implementation.

Streets prioritized for bike lanes and shared lanes have been identified and mapped by the local bicycle advocacy organization, Bike Newport, and are confirmed in the statewide Rhode Island Bicycle Mobility Plan, adopted by Statewide Planning in December, 2020.

Bike Newport says that those gathering on Wednesday will be able to watch the Council meeting on a large screen in Bike Newport’s front office and to call in from their phones to testify from their own personal experience during the public forum.

Respondents to the gathering include people who ride for both transportation and recreation, people of various ages, professions, cultures, and lifestyles, according to Bike Newport. 

“Bicycling is the great equalizer,” commented Glenn Bradfield, Bike Newport’s Board Chair in a statement, “Everyone riding experiences all the benefits to health, happiness, and finances. And everyone riding experiences the same risks due to poor infrastructure and distracted drivers. If we require people to ride on the roads with cars, we have an obligation to improve awareness and communication for all road users. A little paint goes a long way to make folks safer until we advance to more sophisticated and separated improvements.”  

Bike Newport says that anyone interested is invited to gather together in front of City Hall, 43 Broadway, and across the street at Bike Newport, 62 Broadway, beginning at 630pm.

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Ryan Belmore has been the Owner & Publisher of What's Up Newp since 2012. He also currently works for Mountain News, where he serves as Senior Editor - North America for OnTheSnow. He previously worked for the New England Patriots and American Cancer Society. He currently serves as Vice President of Fort Adams Trust and is a member of Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers and North American Snowsports Journalists Association (NASJA).