In order to make sure Bakersfield’s approach was strategic, Bob worked with others to get a new Bicycle Transportation Plan approved. Adopted in 2013, the plan not only calls for more off-road, class-one bike paths, but also a network of family-friendly routes on slower-speed streets with less traffic. “The Kern River, which runs through downtown, is dry half the time, but there are lots of canals that run to and from the river, so the Bicycle Transportation Plan shows future bike paths on those canals,” Bob explained. “We’re hoping to have the Plan fully implemented in the next 30 years.”
From its humble beginnings, Bike Bakersfield has become a leading advocacy organization in Bakersfield, driven by the work of a passionate staff of five. One important service Bike Bakersfield provides is consulting with large employers to help them get their employees to transition from car to bicycle commuting—which can be as simple as helping employees find the best bike route or as technical as providing classes on riding safely in traffic.
“I believe that once people feel they’re more in control through walking or biking to work, it’s easier to address other health problems.”