About the Ambassadors
The City of Chicago’s Department of Transportation offers two free pedestrian and bicycle safety Ambassador programs, the City of Chicago’s Bicycling Ambassadors and the City of Chicago’s Safe Routes Ambassadors.
The Bicycling Ambassadors are a team of bicycle safety and education specialists who have been encouraging Chicagoans to ride their bikes more often and safely since 2001. The Bicycling Ambassadors work toward the following objectives:
- to increase the number of trips made by bicycle
- to reduce the number of bicycle-related injuries
- to help all users: bike riders, motorists, and pedestrians to better share roads and off-street trails
Education is a key component in accomplishing the goals of the City of Chicago’s Bike 2015 Plan, which seeks to improve the quality and safety of the bicycling environment in the city.
The Safe Routes Ambassadors are comprised of four education specialists who lead classroom-based presentations for 2nd and 5th graders on pedestrian and bicycle safety.In the weeks following in-class presentations, Ambassadors re-visit some classrooms to lead outdoor, on-foot workshops, teaching children to apply what they have learned in the classroom. In addition to leading presentations and workshops in schools, the Safe Routes Ambassadors also attend community events, parent meetings and teacher resource fairs to reach a broader school and community audience. To learn more, please read our Safe Routes Backgrounder.
Primary Funding and Support
Project management, program development, and program materials for City of Chicago’s Safe Routes and Bicycling Ambassadors is funded by a grant from the Illinois Department of Transportation, Division of Traffic Safety and by the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT).
The Active Transportation Alliance provides staffing for the Bicycling Ambassador program. Active Trans is contracted by CDOT to provide experience and expertise in bicycle education and safety.
The City of Chicago’s Safe Routes and Bicycling Ambassador Program partners with several organizations to increase the effectiveness of our bicycle safety outreach.
After School Matters (ASM) is a not-for-profit organization the runs after-school job training programs for teens. Our partnership with ASM enables us to provide teenager apprentices with the skills to work as Junior Ambassadors in the summer.
The Chicago Park District generously funds the Junior Ambassador program and one Bicycling Ambassador Position. Funding from the Chicago Park District enables the Bicycling Ambassador program to attend 150 – 200 park district day camps every summer. In 2011, 12 Junior Ambassadors helped City of Chicago’s Bicycling Ambassadors reach 16,000 youth with bicycle safety messages in just six weeks. This funding also makes it possible for the Bicycling Ambassadors to do Lakefront Trail Outreach. In 2011, Ambassadors educated over
15,000 on the Lakefront Trail.
The over-arching goals of West Town Bikes are to promote bicycling in the city of Chicago, to educate youth with a focus on under-served populations, and to foster and serve Chicago’s growing bicycling community. With West Town Bikes running the Junior Ambassador After School Training, Junior Ambassadors are trained at 4 high schools across the City of Chicago.
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Our generous sponsors help make our Ambassador programming possible: