Our primary goal is to improve the safety and health of rural southwest Iowans through education, promotion, and infrastructure improvements. Southwest Iowa counties are consistently ranked among the least healthy in the state, and this is largely due to lack of access to recreational facilities. By making it easier and safer to bicycle, we will see improved health outcomes. Most of our rural communities have also experienced population declines and economic uncertainty for many years. Improving bikeability has been shown to produce economic gains that will provide myriad benefits to all residents. To make bicycling a practical mode of transportation, we need better infrastructure and support from local communities, and we must prevent hazardous situations between motorized and non-motorized transportation on roadways. These accidents, which often end in fatalities, have varying causes attributed to each of them, but proper education, adherence to the law and safety precautions could have potentially prevented them all. In addition to education, infrastructure improvements even as simple as pavement markings and signage are important to the inclusion of bicycles on our roadways.
This project is a collaborative effort to bring about improvements in the built environment as well as mindset reform regarding the role of bicycles in a community and on public spaces via education, advocacy, and empowerment. While the popularity of bicycling has grown for practical, economic, environmental, health, and recreation reasons, we are at the same time noticing an increasing gap in education about the relationship between bicycling road etiquette and the built environment. We must make the roads a safe place for bicyclists and motorists alike, through policy and enforcement changes, roadway improvements, and education for bicyclists and drivers. We have identified a need for education based upon the way that bicycles and pedestrians are viewed by an alarming number of motorists. Communities must adapt to welcome cyclists, not only for the sake of the cyclists but for their own success.