• ORCA’s mission is to “promote cycling (and walking) as an enjoyable, healthy, safe, environmentally-friendly activity for people of all ages and abilities” in Otsego and surrounding counties. This year, ORCA organized Otsego County’s first annual Bike to Work Day.
• It is our belief that success in our mission benefits all residents of the region including non-cyclists. For example, ORCA promotes the implementation of the “Complete Streets” program, which proposes that when roadways are improved, the improvements take into consideration the safety needs of all users including motorists, cyclists, pedestrians, the disabled, the young, the elderly, and transit users. Providing complete streets for all is truly an example of “if you build it (correctly), they will come" (and use it correctly).
• ORCA supports the idea of “Safe Routes to School,” a program which facilitates cycling and walking to school as a healthy activity for the children of our region in a time of increasing childhood obesity and diabetes, and in a culture which has become more sedentary and computer based.
• ORCA plans to provide bicycling education for adults, for children, for Driver’s Ed participants, and for motorists to “share the road.” The availability of proper cycling education encourages more residents to consider bicycling as an enjoyable and safe aerobic activity thereby improving the emotional and physical health of the community. ORCA also plans to facilitate the training of locals as nationally certified cycling instructors.
• ORCA promotes cycling for commuting to work and to perform errands around town. More trips by bicycle translate to fewer trips by car which decreases environmentally harmful gasoline emissions, saves money, improves air quality for all, and frees up limited parking spaces for motorists.
• ORCA promotes the development of environmentally friendly off-road multi-use trails, such as the proposed 20-mile extension of the Susquehanna Greenway from Oneonta to Cooperstown’s Gateway. Multi-use trails encourage more residents to consider bicycling (and walking) in a less hectic and more relaxing environment (and rail trails have been shown to increase property values).
• ORCA promotes the establishment of Cooperstown and the Otsego Region as a tourist destination for cyclists, which encourages “Green Tourism” and brings more tourism dollars to our communities. To accomplish this goal (and others), ORCA will work toward the goal of having Cooperstown and the Otsego Region designated as a prestigious “Bicycle Friendly Community (Region)” by the League of American Bicyclists.
• ORCA intends to organize cycling events for families and for cyclists of all ages and abilities, thereby promoting cycling as an enjoyable activity for everyone.
• ORCA, as a local bicycling advocacy group, affiliates with state and national bicycling advocacy groups bringing the power of these larger organizations to the Main Streets of our local communities.