by Mark Deshon, Chair, BikeNewark Back in 2016, one of our BikeNewark members had the unfortunate experience of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. While riding her bike, she was chased down by a police officer in a squad car with lights flashing for failing to come to a complete stop at…
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Bike Delaware's John Bare, with State Senator Dave Sokola, received Newark's Bicycle Friendly Community Leader award last week.

by Mark Deshon, Chair, BikeNewark

Back in 2016, one of our BikeNewark members had the unfortunate experience of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. While riding her bike, she was chased down by a police officer in a squad car with lights flashing for failing to come to a complete stop at a four-way-stop intersection in a quiet neighborhood on a route she travels daily. Though there were no cars present and she had both signaled her turn and acted safely, she had, technically, broken the law.

Hearing about this episode at that time, no one in BikeNewark (then known as the “Newark Bicycle Committee”) knew that for several years its liaison with Bike Delaware,  John Bare, had been thinking about exactly this issue and what could be done to keep it from happening.

In the run-up to Bike to Work Day last week, BikeNewark's membership unanimously agreed that John Bare deserved recognition as the 2018  Bicycle Friendly Community Leader, an annual honor jointly bestowed by BikeNewark and the City of Newark. Bare was nominated and subsequently chosen because of his work on the Bicycle Friendly Delaware Act, which made it legal for cyclists in Delaware to safely yield at stop signs and which was signed into law by Governor Carney in Newark last October.

#DelawareYield #ChangeLanesToPass (aka #SafePassing) #EndBadTickets (aka #LoseAFRAP) #DontHonkAtCyclists

How did Delaware do it? Check out new article at @BIKELAWcom: https://t.co/wvsuD1Tp8C@BikeLeague @BicyclingMag @ridewcbc @newbelgium #BikeLaw pic.twitter.com/MLCn9lpcDn

— Bike Delaware (@Bike_DE) February 12, 2018

'John not only created the initial draft of the Bicycle Friendly Delaware Act in September of 2016 (not long after the incident in Newark),” noted Bike Delaware Executive Director James Wilson, “he was also involved at every step with all the many revisions right up until the bill was finally filed in May of 2017, more than seven months later.'

Governor John Carney signs the Bicycle Friendly Delaware Act on Newark's Pomeroy Trail on October 5, 2017

State Senator Dave Sokola (who was the prime sponsor of the Bicycle Friendly Delaware Act in the Delaware Senate) bicycled into Newark last week to participate in Bike to Work Day and to assist me and City of Newark staffer Mike Fortner with the presentation of the award to John. After receiving the award, which came as a complete surprise to him, John talked briefly about how Delaware was the first state in 35 years (following only Idaho in 1982) to make safe yielding at stop signs legal for cyclists. In addition to acknowledging the bill's prime sponsors – Representative Mitchell and Senator Sokola – he also thanked BikeNewark for its help and held up the passage of this groundbreaking legislation as an example of what cyclists can accomplish in Delaware when we know what we want and we work together.

John Bare is Bike Delaware's Bicycle Friendly State Coordinator. During his years in that role, Delaware rose rapidly up the League of American Bicyclists' “Bicycle Friendly State” rankings. In his 20s, John was one of the 'Raleigh Boys,' the first modern-era US cycling team to compete successfully in Europe. A former member of the US National Cycling Team, John has been the road-racing champion of Pennsylvania and Maryland-Delaware. John is passionate both about how government regulates cycling  and also about making Delaware a more bicycle-friendly place for people of every ability and every age.

 

 

  Mark Deshon  is chair of BikeNewark.