Bike Wilmette, formerly Wilmette Citizens for Active Transportation (WCAT), is a group of energetic citizen volunteers who, through advocacy and community engagement, work to make bicycling, walking and all forms of active transportation in Wilmette safer and more convenient. Our ultimate goal is to make Wilmette a healthier and more livable community. We also seek opportunities to work with active transportation advocates in nearby communities to address transportation issues that go beyond village borders.

In October 2016, Go Green Wilmette and BikeWilmette offered a three-day Active By Design Summit sponsored by Illinois Bone and Joint Institute. Nationally recognized active transportation expert Mark Fenton presented to 100 representatives from 16 northern suburbs on the human health and environmental benefits of smart planning that promotes walking and biking. He also conducted five community walk audits with 80 participants in Wilmette, Skokie, Park Ridge, Glencoe and Highland Park. In this video, Fenton explains the fundamentals of a walk audit.

In 2013, the Village of Wilmette agreed to participate in the League of American Bicyclists’ Bike Friendly Community (BFC) program. In order to become a bike friendly community, our Village must show initiative in each of the League of American Bicyclists’ “Five E’s:” BikeWilmette continues to work towards recognition by this program.

  • Engineering: “creating safe and convenient places to ride and park”
  • Education: “giving people of all ages and abilities the skills and confidence to ride”
  • Encouragement: “creating a strong bike culture that welcomes and celebrates bicycling”
  • Enforcement: “ensuring safe roads for all users”
  • Evaluation and Planning: “planning for bicycling as a safe and viable transportation options“

Our activities have resulted in passage by the Village Board of Trustees of an ordinance adopting a “Complete Streets” policy (Ordinance #2015-O-4), the development and deployment of a community bicycle survey, and the Village’s application for “Bike Friendly Community” designation from the League of American Bicyclists. (The Village received “honorable mention,” and Bike Wilmette is seeking to improve Wilmette’s standing by advocating for the implementation of the League of American Bicyclists’ recommendations.)We are eager to have the participation of Wilmette residents who share our interest in these issues and are able to bring passion and energy to pursuing them.

We also collaborate with North Shore Cycling Advocates (NSCA). The purpose of NSCA is to mobilize cyclists of all stripes–competitive, recreational and local–in order to bring the cyclist’s perspective to governmental decision-makers across the north suburbs of Chicago. For more information, contact kenneth.obel@gmail.com.

Cover photo by Eric Fredericks.