On the opening day of the Interbike trade show in Las Vegas, Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper announced his state plans to commit more than $100 million over the next four years to improve cycling infrastructure.
“Our goal is to make Colorado the best state for biking in the country which will help fuel our robust economic growth and tourism industry, move us toward a cleaner environment and advance our goal of being the healthiest state in the nation,” said Hickenlooper during a breakfast time speech.
Colorado is often ranked the fittest state, and was recently ranked the most physically active state in the country. But it still has an obesity rate of 23 percent. A nationwide study found that kids only spend 4-7 minutes outside in unstructured play every day, but spend 7-10 hours a day staring at video screens. Biking is one of the ways Colorado is aiming to change these stats.
The four-year plan and huge cash infusion will allow Colorado to put more bikes in people’s hands and make it safer to ride bikes by adding bike lanes and improving driver education.
“We want to encourage riders of all shapes, sizes and abilities by making biking as safe and accessible as possible statewide,” said Ken Gart, Colorado’s bike czar.
At the state level, the Colorado Pedals Project, Bicycle Colorado, Great Outdoors Colorado, and many other organizations are working with the Colorado Department of Transportation, Office of Economic Development and other state agencies, to facilitate strategy, distribute money, and accomplish shared goals.
Great Outdoors Colorado invests Lottery proceeds in Colorado’s rivers, parks, open space, wildlife, and trails and has been the state’s single largest funding source for trails.
Bicycle Colorado, one of the nation’s first statewide bicycle advocacy groups and — now the largest — encourages and promotes bicycling, increase safety, improve conditions and provide a voice for people who ride bicycles in Colorado.