New task force focused on improving Indiana’s bike trails

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – The 2017 Indiana General Assembly passed legislation to create the Indiana Bike Trails Task Force and that group is now working on improving connectivity and safety for cyclists across the state.

State Representative Wes Culver, R-Goshen, sponsored the legislation and said he got the idea from his time on the Indiana Tourism Council.

“My vision was let’s create a trail where someone could come to Indiana, ride for a week, not see the same trail twice, start somewhere and end up back at their car,” Culver said. “Get to see a lot of Indiana and leave a lot of money here.”

The task force met for the second time Wednesday. The group is now divided into sub committees focusing unique funding methods for trails in Indiana and safety for cyclists.

The group says currently Indiana has a long way to go to catch up on the trail infrastructure compared to neighboring states.

“There’s really no reason why we can’t be the state everyone looks to say, ‘Wow! These guys know how to do bike trails,’” Indiana Bike Trails Task Force Chair Kyle Hannon said. “We’re not there yet, but there’s no reason we can’t be.”

In addition to tourism, task force members say Indiana bike trails are important for economic development.

Task Force Member and Carmel City Council Member Bruce Kimball said a company, KAR Auction Services, recently decided to invest $80 million in Carmel for its new corporate headquarters partly because of the city’s extensive bike trail system.

The new facility will include a bike hub for cyclists.

“And they are in the automotive industry…. so if we want to attract those young millennials that’s what we have to do as a state," Kimball said. “You invest in quality of life, people invest in you.”

The Indiana Bike Trails Task Force’s next meeting is scheduled for March.

The group is required to deliver a plan to extend and fund more bike trails across Indiana to the governor’s desk by July 1, 2019.