Wyoming Bicycle and Pedestrian Task Force – Moving Forward
Wyoming Governor Matt Mead signed the Bicycle and Pedestrian Task Force bill into law on Monday February 29th. The next steps for the bill are for the Governor to appoint the 13 members called for in the bill, and to appoint a chairman.
“This is the first ever state-level effort to study the benefits and opportunities of bicycle and pedestrian pathways and natural surface trails”, said Tim Young, Executive Director of Wyoming Pathways, a statewide organization that helped develop and promote the bill. “The Task Force will be a boost to communities around Wyoming as they work to enhance biking, walking and trail systems,” he said.
The bill was developed by the Joint Travel, Recreation, Wildlife and Cultural Resources Committee over the course of the past year as part of an Interim Study topic. House Chair Ruth Ann Petroff from Jackson and Senate Chair Stan Cooper from Kemmerer led the committee meetings and heard strong public support in meetings around Wyoming.
The Task Force will be charged with developing a report to help local communities and state agencies, including WYDOT, State Parks, Health, Tourism, and the Business Council, to all better understand the opportunities and challenges of bicycle and pedestrian pathways and natural surface trails.
The Task Force will consider the economic benefits of bicycle and pedestrian pathways and natural surface trails through enhanced tourism opportunities. The report to be produced will also study health benefits to Wyoming residents of having access to close to home pathways and trails, and ways in which these benefits can best be attained.
Safety is an important element of the issues to be addressed as well. A tragic number of bicycle and pedestrian fatalities have occurred around Wyoming in recent years, and the Task Force will analyze the crash records and public safety concerns, and will recommend intervention programs that could help improve safety and reduce fatalities and serious injuries.
To further assist communities, the bill calls for the Task Force to identify and evaluate options to fund the construction and maintenance of pathways and natural surface trails, including private and nonprofit sources along with local, state, and federal sources.
Wyoming Pathways will follow the progress, and has offered to assist the Task Force. The full bill with the 13 members to be appointed is here.