Ypsilanti's Bike-Bus-Walk Week to encourage alternative transportation
Ypsilanti resident Bob Krzewinski was riding his bicycle on Forest Avenue in 2006, when he was struck from behind by a hit-and-run motorist who briefly slowed down and then quickly left the scene.
"I was out of work for five months," said Krzewinksi, who also is a member of Ypsilanti's Non-Motorized Advisory Committee. "I was going east on Forest about a block from where I live and I was following all traffic regulations, when a car hit me and gave me some blunt force trauma to my arm. I only had 5 percent usage of my arm for some time. ... Thank God for physical therapists."
AnnArbor.com file photo
Following months of physical therapy, Krzewinski was and still is an avid cyclist. He and others have organized a week-long Bike-Bus-Walk Week to promote safe cycling and alternative transportation uses in the Washtenaw County area.
Residents are being encouraged to try walking, bicycling or using bus service during the week of May 12-18 in the hope that they will continue to use alternative transit more throughout the year.
"I got off fairly easy, but you have some people that have been hit and they have serious lifelong disabilities," Krzewinski said.
Organizations such as Bike Ypsi, the city of Ypsilanti's Non-Motorized Advisory Committee, the Ann Arbor Transportation Authority and the Friends of the Border To Border Trail planned the following events and activities:
Water Street Border To Border Trail Walk - Monday, May 13, at 7 p.m.
A short walk between 30 and 45 minutes will occur along the soon-to-be-paved Water Street segment of the Border to Border trail. Participants are being asked to meet at the Water Street Trail parking lot, at the east end of the Michigan Avenue bridge across the Huron River, just east of downtown Ypsilanti.
The walk will be led by Ypsilanti City Council Member Pete Murdock, who will also be talking about Water Street, it’s history and developments in the area.
Ride of Silence- Wednesday, May 15 at 7 p.m.
A slow paced, silent ride to commemorate cyclists killed or injured in the area and in the country will begin at the Ypsilanti Recreation Park at Congress Street and Oakwood Street. The event is sponsored by Bike Ypsi.
Bicyclists in Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti will join others from around the nation in a ride to commemorate those who have been injured or killed while riding, Krzewinski said. The event is meant to raise awareness that bicyclists have a legal right to ride on streets.
AnnArbor.com file photo
Nationally, nearly 700 cyclists are killed each year while riding and most occur in cities and suburbs. In Michigan during 2011, the most recent data from the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning shows there were 1,895 bicycles involved in motor vehicles crashes, with 24 bicyclists killed and 1,479 injured.
The ride is jointly sponsored by the Ann Arbor Bicycle Touring Society and Bike Ypsi. The ride is open to the public and will last about an hour. All participants are asked to wear a bicycle helmet and to obey all traffic laws.
Basic Biking Talk - Thursday, May 16, at 7 p.m. at the Library Plaza Park at 219 W. Michigan Avenue, east of the downtown library.
Advice and tips will be given to help people navigate in busy urban areas safely and legally and basic maintenance information will be given. In case of rain, the talk will be held indoors next door at B-24s Cafe. This event is sponsored by Bike Ypsi.
Bike To Work Day - Friday, May 17- The Bike to Work Day event encourages residents to use alternative forms of transportation to get to work. For those needing to go to Ann Arbor, the Bike Ypsi group will ride to Ann Arbor, leaving Ypsilanti at 7:30 a.m. from Beezys Cafe at 20 N. Washington St.
Water Street Trail Cleanup/Workday - Saturday, May 18.
As part of the overall "Ypsi Pride" day, this event will concentrate on cleaning up and improving the Border To Border Trail in the Water Street development area. Participants will meet at 9 a.m. on the southwest corner of Mark Street and South Street. Volunteers are asked to sign up prior to the cleanup here. A post-cleanup free volunteer picnic will be held at Prospect Park from noon to 2 p.m.
In addition to the events above, Krzewinski said two "ghost bikes," bicycles that have been stripped of color, displays have been erected at the southeast corner of Cross Street and College Place and the southwest corner of Forest Avenue and Prospect.
The ghost bikes are meant to urge cyclists and drivers to share the road with each other.
"They have a message that says a cyclist was hurt near this spot," Krzewinski said. "This is tied into that ride of silence. It’s almost a worldwide event."
Krzewinski said since his accident, he does believe Ypsilanti has become a safer place for bicyclists and pedestrians. However, he said there's still work to do.
"I’d say it's become safer because you’re starting to see more and more bicycles out," he said. "When you see a lot more people out doing an activity, it becomes a bit safer. There's still a lot to be done, but at the same time, we’re making pretty good progress. We're really happy to have city government and the downtown associations support that biking makes for a more vibrant community."