Advocacy

PRESS RELEASE : Bike Baton Rouge presents #mybikestory week

Bike Baton Rouge presents #mybikestory week
2/16/16, Baton Rouge, LA


A local non-profit organization, Bike Baton Rouge, will next week be holding a social media campaign to help dispel the myth that bicycling in Baton Rouge can be difficult or dangerous.

"Too often, people only hear about bicycling when something bad happens." said Bike Baton Rouge President Mika Torkkola. "We're encouraging folks to help change that perception by letting the world know how fun, how relaxing, or even in many cases, how mundane your average bike ride in Baton Rouge can be."

During #mybikestory week, bicyclists can post stories, photos, and videos of their daily bike rides on Facebook, Twitter, or other social media outlets using the #mybikestory hashtag. Bike Baton Rouge hopes that by hearing more about the experiences of bicyclists in Baton Rouge, potential bicyclists will see that the benefits of bicycling in Baton Rouge greatly outweigh the risks, which are often exaggerated by social media.

The Baton Rouge Area Foundation’s 2016 City Stats Survey found that 39% of Baton Rouge residents surveyed would be interested in riding to work if conditions were safer, a number that has grown from surveys in previous years.

#mybikestory week runs from Monday, February 20th through Sunday, February 26th. Submissions from previous events can be found at bikebr.org/mybikestory, and Bike Baton Rouge will be updating that page regularly throughout the week as well as sharing their favourite stories on their Facebook and Twitter pages.

Mika Torkkola
225 571 2906
bikebatonrouge@gmail.com

Bike Baton Rouge is a local non-profit 501 (c) 3 organization and has been dedicated to making bicycling trips in Baton Rouge safer and more enjoyable since 2006.

PRESS RELEASE : Cranksgiving bike ride combines donation drive and scavenger hunt for a good cause.

Cranksgiving bike ride combines donation drive and scavenger hunt for a good cause.
11/15/16, Baton Rouge, LA

Bike Baton Rouge, a local non-profit organization, is inviting the community to join them for the second annual Cranksgiving bike ride on November 20 at City Park. The event will benefit the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank and will include a special donation to the Baton Rouge Police Department.

“Cranksgiving is a really fun way to get involved and to do some good, and with the flood damage that the Food Bank received, there is no better time to do that,” said Mika Torkkola, Bike Baton Rouge president.

Last year’s Cranksgiving was the first in Baton Rouge, but the event has a long history with its origins in New York City in 1999. In 2015, eighty events were held around the country throughout November.

Cranksgiving participants need only to bring a bicycle, a lock, and about $20 to spend at five grocery stores around Baton Rouge. A map to those stores and a five item shopping list will be provided, and participants will have two hours to make their purchases and get back to City Park. An average participant will ride around ten miles.

A family friendly option of about five miles is also available, and is suitable for riders of all ages.

Registration for Cranksgiving is free and will be open between 1:00 pm and 1:45 pm. At 1:30pm, Bike Baton Rouge will be presenting the East Baton Rouge Police Department with a special donation of bike lights.

“We will donate 500 LED lights to the Baton Rouge Police Department for our continued commitment to help Light up the Night in Baton Rouge,” said Samantha Morgan, board member of Bike Baton Rouge. “We hope this program will continue to educate people about the importance of riding with lights at night, as well as get them in the hands of people who need them.”

On May 20, 2016, Bike Baton Rouge made its first donation of 100 lights to the Baton Rouge Police Department with the agreement that the agency would give the lights to anyone they see riding without lights rather than issuing a ticket. Riding a bike in Louisiana at night without lights is illegal.

Membership fees and private donations have helped pay for a total of 300 lights. But the donation at Cranksgiving will be the largest yet, thanks to a generous donation from a Bike Baton Rouge member and his employer, Exxon-Mobil. 

“At ExxonMobil, safety is always our top value. We’re honored to support Bike Baton Rouge’s efforts to provide additional bike lights to the Baton Rouge Police Department,” explained ExxonMobil Public & Government Affairs Manager Stephanie Cargile. “This donation is the result of hours volunteered by our employees, matched with grants from the ExxonMobil Foundation.”

After Cranksgiving, Bike Baton Rouge will host a dinner and awards ceremony.

Prizes, provided by Bike Baton Rouge as well as local bike stores and restaurants, will be awarded across three categories of riders - Fast, Fun, and Family. While the fastest riders in each category will receive prizes, there will also be prizes for those who spend the most, the least, and those who are the slowest. Bike Baton Rouge says that Cranksgiving is “only a race if you want it to be.”

bikebr.org/cranksgiving
https://www.facebook.com/events/1802618039978521/

Media are invited to preview or cover the event - call Mika Torkkola at 225 571 2906 or email bikebatonrouge@gmail.com for scheduling or information

Bike Baton Rouge is a local non-profit 501 (c) 3 organization and has been dedicated to making bicycling trips in Baton Rouge safer and more enjoyable since 2006.

 

2015 Cranksgiving

2015 Cranksgiving

PRESS RELEASE : Mayoral candidates comment on bicycling in Baton Rouge

PRESS LOGO.png

10/21/16, Baton Rouge, LA

Sharon Weston Broome, Denise Marcelle, Greg LaFleur, Bodi White, and Darryl Gissel’s responses to a five question survey of Baton Rouge’s mayoral candidates facilitated by local bike advocacy organization Bike Baton Rouge were published on Friday morning on the Bike Baton Rouge website at bikebr.org/election2016
 
The responses highlight each candidate’s position on bicycle infrastructure and safety in Baton Rouge as well as their previous involvement in improving bicycling conditions in Baton Rouge. Responses from eight metro council candidates were also included.
 
"As Baton Rouge's bicycle advocacy organization we felt it was our responsibility to make sure each candidate had the opportunity to communicate their position on bicycling issues to our members as well as the general public," said Mika Torkkola, president of Bike Baton Rouge. "And we think the responses do a great job in highlighting what each respondent will be willing to do to make Baton Rouge a better place to ride a bicycle."
 
Candidates were contacted starting October 6, 2016 via email and social media and had until October 20 to respond. Torkkola says that while not every candidate responded to their request, those who did offered genuine and thoughtful comments.
 
Those candidates who did not respond can still do so by contacting Bike Baton Rouge. Their answers will be added to the list once they are submitted. 

Mika Torkkola
225 571 2906
bikebatonrouge@gmail.com

Bike Baton Rouge is a local non-profit 501 (c) 3 organization and has been dedicated to making bicycling trips in Baton Rouge safer and more enjoyable since 2006.

PRESS RELEASE : Bike Baton Rouge to support Breast Cancer Awareness Month

10/4/16, Baton Rouge, LA

Bike Baton Rouge, a local non-profit organization, is partnering with the Southern University Agricultural Research & Extension Center to raise awareness and funds for Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Bike Baton Rouge will be supporting the 10th Annual Pink Party with a Purpose with a ‘Pink Bike Ride’ at this year's event, which will be held on Friday November 4 at Southern University's main campus. Bike Baton Rouge will also donate $5 from each new membership which includes a pink Bike Baton Rouge T-shirt, and $3 from each individual T-shirt sale.

“Women respond better to treatment both when supported by community and when getting regular exercise," said Jessica Stroope, a Bike Baton Rouge member and volunteer who counts breast cancer survivors amongst both her friends and family. "Bicycling with friends is an ideal way to do that - residential streets and designated bike routes are the perfect way to explore our city, get some exercise, and deepen connections with friends." 

Getting regular exercise can be tougher than it sounds - statistics from the League of American Bicyclists show that female bicyclists are less likely to choose to bike on roads without bicycle infrastructure, noting that on average, women will travel five minutes more than men to access a bicycle facility such as a bike lane or trail. Bike Baton Rouge hopes its recently released Baton Rouge Bike Map (bikebr.org/map) will be a quick and easy resource to find safe ways to get around Baton Rouge by bicycle.

Bike Baton Rouge's memberships and T-shirts are available on its website (http://bikebr.org/merchandise/) as well as at at the Pink Party with a Purpose event.

http://bikeleague.org/content/increased-comfort-more-women-biking

Mika Torkkola
225 571 2906
bikebatonrouge@gmail.com

Bike Baton Rouge is a local non-profit 501 (c) 3 organization and has been dedicated to making bicycling trips in Baton Rouge safer and more enjoyable since 2006.

Bike Baton Rouge members and volunteers at the State Capitol in April 2016

Bike Baton Rouge members and volunteers at the State Capitol in April 2016

Meet the Board - Part 7 - Michael Domingue

Michael Domingue is our newest addition to the Bike Baton Rouge Board. He brings with him a wealth of practical knowledge and experience as the FHWA Recreational Trails Administrator for Louisiana.

Michael Domingue is our newest addition to the Bike Baton Rouge Board. He brings with him a wealth of practical knowledge and experience as the FHWA Recreational Trails Administrator for Louisiana.

Who are you and where are you from? 

My name is Michael W. Domingue and I am from New Orleans, Louisiana. I have lived throughout Louisiana my entire life.

Why do you love bicycling? 

I love it because it is fun, good exercise and cheap transportation.

Why did you join the Bike Baton Rouge board?

I hope to help make the bike community more prominent and influential in public policy-making in East Baton Rouge Parish. 

What do you see YOUR role as with Bike Baton Rouge? What do you do and what are you good at?

I want to help build the organization’s membership. I administer the Recreational Trails program for the State of Louisiana. I am good at fundraising and organizing.

What would you consider the greatest challenge to bicycling in Baton Rouge?

Poorly designed automobile infrastructure which blocks cyclists and pedestrians from getting around is the biggest challenge in Baton Rouge.

What are you and Bike Baton Rouge doing to tackle that challenge?

We are trying to find short but impactful bike linkages (filling in the gaps) throughout Baton Rouge.

What will bicycling in Baton Rouge look like in 1/5/20 years time?

1 year: several more short ped-bike connections (like the Pennington Trail Segment and the Riverbend Connectivity Trail) will be completed by BREC and the FHWA Recreational Trails Program for Louisiana.

5 years: The Baton Rouge Downtown Greenway will be completed from City Park/ Brooks Park to the Louisiana State Capitol and the downtown area. The Wards/Dawson Creeks Trails will be completed from Pecue Lane to the Burden Research Center, the LSU AgCenter Botanical Gardens and the Rural Life Museum.

20 years: A ped-bike trail roughly paralleling Perkins Road/Bayou Duplantier will connect LSU to the Wards/Dawson Creeks Trails and beyond. The Wards Creek Trail will extend under the I-10/I-12 interchange into north Baton Rouge connecting to a network of ped-bike trails all the way to Southern University.
 
What does your 'ideal' day of bike riding in Baton Rouge look like?

I like to ride to work from my home in Riverbend Lakes Subdivision to the Louisiana State Capitol by way of the Riverbend Connectivity/Farr Park Trail to the Mississippi River Levee Ped-Bike Trail. On my way home, I like to shop at Matherne’s Market or stop to get a drink before getting on the levee to go home. On my days off, I like to ride my children and grandchildren to the Riverbend Park (2,000 feet from my house), to the levee, to LSU or to downtown Baton Rouge (Farmers/Artists Market especially).