Bike Durham: Working for Safe, Affordable, and Sustainable Transportation

By John Tallmadge, Executive Director, Bike Durham

The TPNA invites speakers to our monthly board meetings to educate us on topics of interest to the neighborhood. Bike Durham Executive Director, John Tallmadge, joined us at the November 4 TPNA Board meeting.

“Our 3rd grader loved experiencing riding a bike for the first time during the bicycle safety program in his PE elective classes. He has had some gross motor challenges in the past and with us was hesitant to try being on a bike. At school these last few weeks, it’s been a very different story. Thank you for your partnership with our school!” – DPS parent

Bike Durham received this message recently after completing classes at one of the twelve schools that we will be serving this year. Thanks to a contract with the City and contributions from generous donors, we will provide classes to more than 750 students this year as part of a Safe Routes to School program. Our strategy is to leverage these bike riding and safety classes to connect with parents, teachers, and administrators to promote walking, biking, and rolling to school. Ultimately, we will work with those leaders in the school communities to identify the obstacles to walking, biking, and rolling and advocate for sidewalks, safe street crossings, protected bicycle facilities, and slower streets.

Bike Durham’s “Walk and Roll to School” event at Eastway Elementary School, October 2022

Bike Durham is a ten-year old, local, non-profit organization advocating for safe, affordable, and sustainable transportation for everyone in Durham, regardless of who they are or where they live. Today, our transportation system is designed to move cars with as little delay as possible, resulting in too many deaths and serious injuries, inequitable access across our community, and climate-damaging levels of carbon emissions. We do not accept these trade-offs for mobility. We have a vision for a transportation system with Zero Deaths or serious injuries, zero carbon emissions, and zero disparity of access based on race or income.

With our members, supporters, and partners, we are moving our community toward this vision through education, advocacy, and events. In addition to our Safe Routes to School focus, we are pushing the City to develop a Vision Zero Action Plan by next November showing the roadmap for getting to zero deaths or serious injuries from traffic violence. We also want the City Council to fund a full-time, dedicated Vision Zero Coordinator to lead this work. Finally, we have been conveners of the Transit Equity Campaign, pushing for the Durham County Transit Plan to prioritize the needs of current transit riders, transit workers, and the residents of predominantly Black and Brown neighborhoods when deciding how to allocate our transit tax revenues.

We know that Durham can have a network of safe streets with slow traffic, sidewalks, safe crossings, and protected bike lanes. We know that we can have a system of frequent transit service with easy connections, and comfortable waiting areas at stops and stations. We know that we can have a transportation system that works for everyone, from an 8-year old 3rd grader just learning to ride a bike to an 80-year old and everyone in between. Together with your support, we will make this happen in Durham. Learn more about how you can get involved at

Advocacy, Community development, Environment, Health and safety, Local Businesses or Organizations, Traffic