Community Rewards

June 9th, 2009

In what is increasingly being identified as the “Blue-Ribbon Generation“, there are some rewards which have merit. Bike Friendly Oak Cliff, an organization which usually employs dubious tactics to instill FUD in their constituents, is to be congratulated on a program they have coordinated in the Bishop Arts District.

Recognizing the success of a discount movie promotion they negotiated at a neighborhood theater in April, the group has extended their rewards program to businesses through out the Oak Cliff arts district. Individuals and families who ride their bicycle(s) to area businesses are eligible to discounts ranging from 10% to 50%. There are even a few freebies thrown in for good measure. It is this sort of imaginative, grassroots effort which just may revitalize the local living economies of decades past and encourage physical activity.

The media coverage has been mixed. An article appearing in the Dallas Morning News was, IMO, too superficial and glossed over the potential for similar initiatives in other parts of the Metroplex. Even worse was a piece airing on the local CBS affiliate, KTVT. Instead of focusing on the community and health benefits, their angle was to couch the program as a means to weather the economic downturn (text|video). In other words, a belt-tightening scheme, rather than a health incentive and community spirit endeavor. Even so, publicizing programs like this can only have a beneficial effect for utility cycling.

BFOC is blazing a new trail with this idea. Other North Texas advocacy groups should take heed and follow suit. Friends of the Katy Trail could solicit participation from Knox Street, Uptown and Victory Park businesses; BikeDFW, Greater Dallas Bicyclists and other regional groups could work with community centers and neighborhood groups. Expanding programs like this could encourage families to think about bicycles as an alternate mode of transportation and an activity families can do together. Fostering utility cycling at the family level may translate to wider adoption of vehicular cycling principles.

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