Kettering works to promote bicycling

Kettering has taken a number of steps to improve its bike-friendly status, and Mayor Don Patterson has issued a proclamation calling May “National Bike Month.”

City officials say Kettering has more than 4 miles of separated, shared-use paths, 4 miles of shared-use paths along roadways, and 10 miles of signed, on-street routes that connect to the largest network of paved, shared use paths in the country.

The city joined other communities around the country in recognizing May as National Bike Month, sponsored by the League of American Bicyclists and established in 1956.

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“National Bike Month is a chance to showcase the many benefits of bicycling — and encourage more folks to give biking a try,” Patterson said. “National Bike Month is an opportunity to celebrate the unique power of the bicycle and the many reasons we ride.”

Kendall Draeger, of the Kettering Bike Committee, which consists of volunteers and city staff members, said much has been accomplished in the past year to make the city more bicycle and walking friendly.

“We have partnered with the Parks Department to add a bicycle ride to their tree fest event,” he told council. “We also initiated the city donating impounded bicycles to the local non-profit group called Bicycles for All. The committee also completed bicycle parking recommendations for all 21 of our parks.”

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The committee recommended last year that additional bike racks be installed in city parks. In addition, some parks also have bike repair stations.

“The portable bike racks that the city purchased are definitely being used,” Draeger said. “Last year, over 225 people bicycled to city events instead of driving their car.”

Bicycle parking and a fix-it station are to be installed at State Farm Park and Delco Park this year.

More than 340 miles of paved trail connect 10 regional counties. Many of those path users are not only walkers and runners, but families out on their bikes or competitive cyclists. Whether using the trails for recreation or transportation, safety on the paths is a top priority for the city.

“Kettering is fortunate to have two of the regional trails pass through our city,” Draeger said. “This year there are two small rest areas that are planned on those trails near the city border. These ‘Welcome to Kettering’ areas are a great opportunity to give trail users a good impression of our city.”

The committee plans to work with local businesses in an attempt to create more bicycle parking and to make sure sidewalks are in good shape so residents can have a safe walk or ride while out in Kettering.

“We are seeing positive trends that are improving walking and bicycling in the city,” Draeger said. “We appreciate the appreciate the city putting resources into improving bicycling and walking in Kettering.”

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