POV: Making walking and biking safe for all

If you’ve read this far, I can probably assume I’m preaching to the choir. So here I go.

What if Bethlehem residents who want to live in a walkable, bikeable neighborhood had a way to stand up and say so? What if they could pledge to be safe walkers, safe bikers, and safe drivers. How would you, the choir, feel if you knew that 500 of your neighbors had made such a pledge? Or 5,000?

I so often feel like it’s me against the world. Little idealist me against a faceless mass who are in a hurry and are driving in a community that – like most in the U.S. – has decades of infrastructure design built for the convenience of the car.

If I knew that a good chunk of my neighbors – and not just the ones I know personally – felt as I do, it would give me real hope. If I knew that a couple thousand Bethlehem residents were willing to commit to be role models for a multitude of transportation choices, I would feel less alone. I would start to believe that my town might be capable of following through on its commitment to sustainability. I would double down my belief that this is a great place to raise my kids.

Last year, I joined the Town of Bethlehem Bicycle and Pedestrian Committee. As a group of volunteers in an advisory role, we are limited in what we can do to effect change. Our most recent project has potential, but it depends on you, our neighbors, to succeed.

We created something called the Roll Model Pledge. We invite residents to sign The Pledge, which details best practices for safe walking, safe biking and safe driving. The Pledge essentially asks you to make a commitment to support all forms of transportation in our town. We believe that by following safe practices, we can all become role models – or Roll Models – for a walkable and bikeable community.

You can find Roll Model Pledge brochures at www.sustainablebethlehem.org. After signing, please report that you’ve done so by emailing BikePed@townofbethlehem.org.

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