Since 2001, the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) has promoted safe cycling and walking through the City of Chicago’s Safe Routes Ambassadors and Bicycling Ambassadors. The goals of the Ambassadors are safety, encouragement, and education for cyclists and pedestrians, reducing crashes and making Chicago a safer place for active transportation. The Safe Routes Ambassadors and the Bicycling Ambassadors are the largest and longest-running program of their type in North America.
The Ambassadors program is funded through CDOT and the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) every yearly season, running from September through August. Each season Ambassadors visit events and neighborhoods throughout Chicago, including schools, parks, libraries, businesses, block parties, ward events, bike rides, farmers markets, festivals, Lakefront Trail outreach and many others. The Ambassadors also helped by acting as a street team during the busiest days for Divvy, Chicago’s Bike Share Program. Finally, the Ambassadors worked with the Chicago Police Department to enforce laws that provide a safer environment for people who walk, bike, and drive.
During the 2013-2014 season, the Ambassadors’ outreach included:
- 650 public and private events
- Direct contact with 83,000 people; 38,000 of those being children and youth
- 75 Bike Safety Enforcement Events
- 212 school events
- 154 Chicago Park District Day Camps
- 1,600 helmet fits