A new community group is helping to make the Tri-Cities a more bicycle-friendly place.
The Three Rivers Bicycle Coalition, an advocacy group formed earlier this year, is working with the city of Richland and the Columbia Center Rotary Club to promote road safety.
The goal is to encourage more people to cycle and help biking complement other outdoor activities in the area's great open spaces, said Jeff Petersen, president of the coalition. That potentially will encourage tourism and make the Tri-Cities an attractive destination, he said.
The group's campaign to promote safe road kicks off today with the unveiling of a new "Share the Road" program. About 40 signs will be installed on Richland roads as part of the program, Petersen said.
The first one will go near the intersection of Columbia Center Boulevard and Columbia Park Trail, he said. A ribbon cutting event is planned there at 1 p.m.
Other signs will be installed on roads which don't have a designated bike lane or a shoulder, said John Ittner, secretary and treasurer of the coalition.
"If you want to get people on their bicycles, you need to make the roads safer," Ittner said.
The coalition's mission is to assist local communities in getting recognition from the League of American Bicyclists as a "Bicycle-Friendly Community."
Richland is committed to becoming a bike-friendly community, Petersen said. That's why the city accepted a $5,000 donation from the Columbia Center Rotary Club to install the signs, he said.
The Three Rivers Bicycle Coalition also plans to share brochures highlighting laws bicyclists and motorists need to follow, Petersen said.
Washington's is ranked the No. 1 bicycling state in the nation largely because of programs on the west side, Petersen said. It's time the Tri-Cities join in, he said.
For more information about the group, visit www.3rb conline.org
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