Because I am a cyclist myself, I can say that Delaware is an extraordinary state in which to ride a bicycle. At least once a year, I join some friends and ride my bike the length of the state.
It is not by chance that Delaware is ranked 10th in the nation as a bicycle-friendly state by the League of American Bicyclists. I believe strongly that we must embrace new ideas that will get more cars off the road. As Delawareans, we made our home the jewel it is by seeing problems not as barriers, but as challenges that we can overcome. Together, we must pursue a series of policies and programs that accelerate our efforts to end our dependence on fossil fuels. While we mitigate and adapt to climate change, bicycles can be a part of those efforts.
We must lead by example and show governments, residents, and businesses around the nation a path to follow. In Delaware, we know how to work together. Through programs and policies such as Rails-to-Trails and Complete Streets, Delaware will continue to embrace the cycling community and encourage cycling as a valuable means of transportation…for commuting as well as recreationally.
We will continue to work shoulder-to-shoulder with the Bicycle Council and the cycling community to increase bicycle usage in Delaware. Now, I encourage you to get on your bikes and enjoy the ride!
Governor Jack Markell
History of the Council
The Delaware Bicycle Council was established in May of 1990 by House Bill 505 to "consider, review and work on matters pertaining to bicycling, bicycle safety and bicycle safety education and to make recommendations to various state agencies." Originally organized with nine members, the Council was expanded to 15 members in May of 1996 by House Bill 556. Members are appointed by the Governor with staggered terms and include representatives from the Department of Transportation, The Council on Transportation, The Department of Education, The Delaware State Police, The Office of Highway Safety, The Division of Parks and Recreation, The Council on Greenways and Trails, The Division of Public Health. In addition, seven citizen members are appointed - two from New Castle County, one from Kent County, one from Sussex County and three At-large. The Council meets at least five times a year. Staff support is provided by DelDOT's Bicycle/Pedestrian Coordinator at 760-BIKE.
Goals and Objectives
Goal # 1 - Increase facilities and opportunities for bicycling
Objective: Work with public sector to develop policies and provide facilities. Increase road shoulders and trails.
- Worked with DelDOT Road Design to review changes to Bicycle Chapter of Road Design Manual.
- Reviewed Draft DelDOT Bicycle Route Policy.
- Roadway shoulders should be provided on all DelDOT projects. Provisions for bicyclists should be fully considered in conjunction with any construction, reconstruction, or other change of any state roadway.
- DelDOT should develop bicycle-friendly roadway striping policies. These policies would provide a safe area on the roadway for bicycles and allow retrofitting existing roadways.
- Scenic and historic roadways should be designated and protected to help to curb the effects of suburban sprawl on bicycle routes.
- Bicycle friendly rumble strip designs are needed to improve safety. These should be developed in conjunction with research occurring in neighboring states.
- A Bicycle Friendly Communities program should be developed and implemented to provide technical assistance and coordination for local governments.
- The Division of Parks and Recreation should work with the counties and municipalities to establish areas for increased public access for off-road bicycling, explore the potential for public/private partnerships for single track and pathway cycling facilities, and provide trail maps to the public for these areas. DelDOT should provide bicycle access on the Route One corridor between Lewes and Rehoboth and preserve access on the remainder of this corridor. This is a primary destination for employment, shopping and leisure.
- A safe bicycle crossing of the C&D Canal is badly needed. The St. George's Bridge should be restored with a dedicated bicycle facility, or else the Summit Bridge or the Route One Toll Bridge should be retrofitted with a dedicated bicycle facility on the shoulder.
- Increased state funding for the development of a primary bicycle route network for Delaware is needed.
- The definitions of roadway and highway in the Delaware Code do not adequately provide for roadway space or recognize bicyclists as legitimate roadway users. DelDOT's Deputy Attorney General will work with the Council to develop recommendations regarding this issue.
Objective: Maintain existing facilities
- DelDOT's roadway sweeping programs continue to leave bicyclists in riding in debris, which creates serious safety problems. The Council has identified key bicycling routes for more frequent sweeping. Increased maintenance funds should be provided for a more aggressive shoulder sweeping program on these routes.
- The use of tar and chip treatments on highway shoulders and rural roadways continues to be detrimental to bicycling. The DelDOT Pavement Management Program needs additional funding to address the needs of all roadway users. The Council recommends adding 4 ft. paved shoulders to all roadways in the pavement and rehabilitation program and gradually discontinuing the use of tar and chip.
- Glass and debris left at crash sites is a continuing problem. The Council recommends that the Department of Public Safety either enforce the requirement that tow truck operators clean up the crash site, or else require that the drivers involved in the crash pay for cleanup.
- DelDOT should designate county liaisons for resolving road maintenance concerns of the bicycling community.
- Funding for long term greenway maintenance should be established at the state level to insure continuity.
An investigation and report on the hazards to bicyclists of irrigation overspray and manure on roadways, and possible mitigation measures, should be completed with the assistance of the Department of Agriculture.
Objective: Develop planning mechanisms for providing facilities.
DelDOT and county land use agencies should develop and promote roadway links between neighborhoods and pathways in developments.
Objective: Work with private sector to provide facilities.
- BMX bicycling has gained in popularity with younger bicyclists, and local groups have demonstrated resourcefulness and leadership by providing temporary facilities. The Division of Parks and Recreation should play a major role in providing BMX facilities that meet the needs of Delaware's youth
Goal #2 - Be an identifiable resource for bicyclists
Objective: Represent bicycling community in policy-making and legislative process.
- DelDOT's Deputy Attorney General has recently been assigned to work with the Council on legislative and policy issues.
Objective: Serve as a forum for public input