Old folks have those AARP cards; cyclists (of all ages) have Bicycle Benefits stickers.
by Emily Moroz
Cyclist and activist Ian Klepetar might have been born riding a bike, for all he remembers, but an especially moving event motivated Klepetar to advocate bike and road safety on a national level. In 2006, after a cyclist and a pedestrian were killed in an automobile accident in his hometown of Saratoga Springs, New York, 31year old Klepetar, along with his mom, created the Saratoga Healthy Transportation Network, which promotes safe and healthy use of non-motorized transportation. Then Klepetar started Bicycle Benefits, a bicycle incentive and advocacy program with active programs all over the country. Klepetar is in Salt Lake City working to expand the Bicycle Benefits program here.
Cyclists who display a Bicycle Benefits sticker on their helmet and ride to participating businesses receive discounts and special offers.
“While I initially visualized Bicycle Benefits, everyone along the way has helped to make it a reality,” says Klepetar. His brother started chapters in Missoula, Montana and Burlington, Vermont. HIis mom rides to the post office every week to mail out stickers to new and old businesses.
Why Salt Lake? Two years ago, Klepetar met SLC Bike Collective executive director Jon Morrison, who was very helpful in developing ideas and structure for the program. “They have worked hard to get the program set up. Now it’s my job to help it really take off,” he says.
Here’s how it works: When you show a participating business your Bicycle Benefits sticker [on your helmet], you receive a discount, special offer or sometimes free items.” It’s an added encouragement for people to get on their bikes. “BB trips also make great bike dates, too, Klepetar says.
Your sticker must be affixed to your helmet. This encourages helmet use and provides something tangible that members can use to prove they rode their bike. Any business that agrees to offer a discount or reward to individuals who arrive via bicycle displaying an affixed BB sticker can participate in the program. The business must also agree to purchase at least 10 stickers from Bicycle Benefits to sell or give away to their employees, and of course display the BB logo sticker to show cyclists they are participants of the program.
Bicycle Benefits’ website was hacked last month. The new site should be up this month, with a list of business members and their locations plotted on a Google Maps database, as well as region-specific message boards where BB members can post community events, city rides, family and kid-friendly events, and ways to get involved in the program.
About 20 Salt Lake City businesses are already involved (almost 500 nationwide). During his stay, Klepetar hopes to generate 80-100 member coffee shops, restaurants, grocery, retail, hardware stores and bike shops.
“I ride my bike, I wear a helmet, and I like good deals! How do I get me one of them stickers?” I ask. Here’s what he says:
Visit a participating business and purchase a sticker for $5. Half goes to the business; half goes to Bicycle Benefits to help support the program.
While we wait patiently for the Bicycle Benefits website to be up again, the list includes Sage’s, Vertical Diner, Red Rock Brewing, Squatters, Bangkok Thai, Chanon Thai, Blue Star Coffee and others, interested cyclists and businesses can find more information at the Saratoga Healthy Transportation Network’s website, www.healthytransportation.org/benefits.html. Ian Klepetar, 518-396-8376, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.bicyclebenefits.org
Emily Moroz proudly sports a Bicycle Benefits sticker on her helmet, and can’t wait to enjoy cheap(er) Thai food.