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Encouragement programs are critical for promoting and increasing the use of walkways and bikeways. These programs should address all ages and user groups from school children, to working adults, to the elderly and also address recreation and transportation users.
A thorough listing of programs and resources will be on the new GNCC website. Top priority encouragement programs are described below and were chosen based on the experience of some of our members and on the success and impact of these programs in other communities.
Employer Programs - To encourage bicycling and walking to work, employers can provide programs and incentives. When these alternative forms of transportation are encouraged, employers benefit from improved employee health and morale. They are also often positively perceived as protecting the environment and caring for their local community. Promotions could include organizing a Bike to Work Week or a morning Pit- Stop where employees can receive free refreshments. Employers can provide educational workshops, bicycle parking options, and employee incentives. Incentives may include prize drawings, t-shirts, and free tune-ups at a local bicycle shop.
Community Programs - The Smart Commute Challenge is a great example of engaging the community beyond the BTWW. Actively supported and encouraged in the Nanaimo area by GNCC and other partners, it is an excellent means of having residents pledge to commute to work by bicycle. Prizes are available and educational information on commuting to work is provided at www.bikesense.org/.
School Programs - Many programs exist to aid communities in developing safer pedestrian and bicycle facilities around schools. Information is available to encourage group travel, prevent bicycle-related injuries, and sponsor commuter-related events. After-school programs, walking school buses, summer Bike Camps, bicycle rodeos, and Family Fun Rides can be created to provide a supportive environment for children to learn how to ride a bike comfortably and safely, learn how to repair and maintain a bicycle, and tour their city and its destinations.
Bike-sharing and Bike-repair Programs - Bicycle sharing and bike-repair programs encourage use by providing convenient access and empowerment to make more trips by bicycle. Many programs have also served to teach bike safety, maintenance, and on-road skills and have encouraged more people to bicycle for exercise, transportation, and leisure. In addition, these programs have increased the visibility of bicycling in communities. With a bike-sharing program, bicycles are made available for shared use by individuals who do not own bicycles.
These programs are typically found in urban environments. Community bike-sharing programs are organized mostly by local community groups and non-profit organizations. Smart bike- sharing programs are implemented by municipalities or through public-private partnerships. Bike-repair programs take different forms, but typically are run by local community groups. These groups are supplied with used bicycles that are repaired for use by lower-income residents. Those who receive a bike learn how to maintain the bike and often assist in repairs.
Safe Routes to School Safe Routes to School (SRTS) is a program that has grown in parts of Canada because of consistent funding, significant interest at the local community level, and a nationwide campaign to reduce childhood obesity. Local Safe Routes to School programs are sustained by parents, community leaders, and citizens to improve the health and well-being of children by enabling and encouraging them to walk and bicycle to school. SRTS is particularly important as a means to reach future generations, to make walking and biking a common, safe practice and create a less automobile- dependent society over time. Immediate and long-term impacts are possible through the SRTS program. The City of Nanaimo should seek programming and facility funding for the SRTS program, and work with GNCC and other partners.
Other programs include:
- Traffic Education program
- Bike Friendly Business Employee program
- Bike Friendly Retail Business