The RAGBRAI Route Announcement Party has set a new record for fundraising with $77,000 of funding generated for the Iowa Bicycle Coalition, a non profit bicycle advocacy organization. Over 900 people attended the party that annually kicks off RAGBRAI with an announcement of the overnight host communities. Mark Wyatt, executive director of the Iowa Bicycle Coalition said, “this was great opportunity to help bicycling at a time when we really need it. Our programs are working to build bicycle traffic, but we have a lot more work to do with bike safety to reduce crashes, and safe routes to school to increase bicycling for children.”
The Iowa Bicycle Coalition is a member-based organization with over 1,400 members and four staff who work tirelessly for bicycling. The biggest program of the Iowa Bicycle Coalition is safe routes to school that works to increase the number of kids who ride bicycles or walk to school. “We also have share the road programs to teach bike safety during driver education and print bike law cards to distribute to cyclists,” said Wyatt.
The Coalition has also worked on establishing measurements to evaluate the impact of bicycling. The recent Health and Economic Impact of Bicycling in Iowa study showed bicycling has $364.8 million economic impact in Iowa. “That is over $1 million per day,” states Wyatt, “and a healthcare cost savings of $73 million. Bicycling is an important industry in Iowa.”
“RAGBRAI and the Des Moines Register deserves thanks for helping raise funding for the Iowa Bicycle Coalition. They do great work putting on the annual ride across Iowa. They also know that we need to keep improving conditions for Iowa cyclists so generations to come can enjoy the ride across the state.” states Wyatt.