Bike Michiana

resources, news, observations and ideas about bicycling in the Michiana area

South Bend Mayoral Candidates Respond to Michiana Cycling Questionnaire

Posted by Henry Scott on April 27, 2011

Ahead of South Bend’s May 3rd mayoral primary, the Bike Michiana Coalition presented an online questionnaire to all South Bend mayoral candidates. The questionnaire was designed to gauge how their administration would approach cycling issues.

The questionnaire was not completed by any of the Republican candidates, but responses from Democratic candidates Mike Hamann, Ryan Dvorak, Pete Buttigieg and Barrett Berry are listed below.

The first six questions were closed-ended for ease of completion by the candidates, but the last three were open-ended to give the candidates room to elaborate on their views regarding Michiana cycling. The responses are presented in the order in which they were received.

The BMC also attempted to contact the candidates for the Mishawaka mayoral race (Republican incumbent David Wood and Democratic challenger Craig Fry), but we have not yet received a response from either.


1. Do you consider bicycles to be a valid form of transportation that should be encouraged?
2. Do you think bicycling infrastructure improvements are a good use of city resources?

All candidates responded “YES” to these questions.


3. Multi-use pathways (i.e. for pedestrians and cyclists) that are physically separated from roadways.

All candidates responded “HIGH” to this question.

4. City support for cycling events such as Bike the Bend.

All candidates responded “HIGH” to this question.

5. Striped bicycle lanes added to existing city streets where feasible.

All candidates responded “HIGH” to this question.

6. Designating a member of your administration, at least on a part-time basis, as a “Bicycle Coordinator” to oversee city efforts related to cycling.

Mike Hamann responded “MODERATE;” Ryan Dvorak, Pete Buttigieg and Barrett Berry responded “HIGH.”


7. Given the tough economic climate that we’re in, what steps can be taken toward becoming a more bicycle-friendly city? What do you think could be realistically accomplished within the next five years? How about the next ten?

Mike Hamann:
“To continue to develop the Riverwalk and to take advantage of federally-funded projects that encourage healthy lifestyle as available are two steps which I would take moving forward as mayor.”

Ryan Dvorak:
“Within the next five years, increasing the number of bike lanes throughout the city, is a relatively inexpensive and achievable task. The condition of bicycle lane markings also needs to be improved, and more public bike racks need to be placed in more convenient locations. I also intend to connect more of our local path and bike lane networks to allow for more access across the larger community.

Over the next ten years, cycling can be more fully integrated into our transportation infrastructure by taking a leadership role in completing a regional path and lane network that allows for more widespread bicycle commuting.”

Pete Buttigieg:
“For the foreseeable future, fiscal pressures will put limits on our ability to invest in city priorities, including bicycle friendliness for our city. But we can continue to develop our infrastructure based on the idea of “Complete Streets” that make room, where appropriate, for more than just car traffic. I envision further development of separate paths and bike lanes as our city continues to become the modern, forward-looking community we seek to be.”

Barrett Berry:
“As mayor, I would look to your organization for advise as to how to improve the city of South Bend for cyclists. I ride and enjoy it, but I am not an engineer nor expert in what steps to advance to improve our cycling experience. What I do want is to have more bike paths connecting the city to St. Joseph, Berrien, and Elkhart Counties.”

8. Are you, or members of your immediate family, cyclists? If so, please comment on your experiences with cycling in Michiana.

Mike Hamann:
“My daughter and daughter-in-law are avid cyclists, and they have been impressed with many of the improvements in South Bend during the last few years which have given them more opportunity.”

Ryan Dvorak:
“My wife and I are recreational cyclists, and enjoy our easy access to a large network of bike lanes and paths from our home on North Shore Drive. Our 2-year-old daughter is gradually accepting the necessity of wearing a helmet, and we can now ride much farther with her before she tries to pull it off her head!”

Pete Buttigieg:
“From a boyhood spent riding my bike between my neighborhood and downtown, I have always enjoyed opportunities for cycling in our community. During my time as a Rhodes Scholar, my bike was my main mode of transportation around Oxford and the surrounding area. Having seen how good infrastructure choices enhanced that bustling, thriving, and decidedly bike-friendly community, I came home newly inspired by the possibilities for smarter management of our transportation options here in South Bend.”

Barrett Berry:
“I am a cyclist and tri-athelete. My normal regiment and training includes cycling at least four-five days a week for two or three hours at a time. Saturdays are my long rides where I am on the road for four – five hours. Of course, since campaigning I have not cycled, but plan to return to my normal schedule after we win the primary. “

9. Would you care to comment on any other aspects of Michiana cycling?

Mike Hamann:
“Promoting an active lifestyle is important, and I support organizations, such as Michiana cycling, which have this goal.”

Ryan Dvorak:
“In my capacity as a State Representative, I was proud to co-sponsor Senate Bill 553 in 2009, which:
1) included a definition of “bicycle lanes” into the Indiana Code;
2) placed requirements for vehicle behavior in and around bicycle lanes;
3) increased the criminal penalties for a person who causes bodily injury to a person riding a bicycle while knowingly, intentionally, or recklessly operating a motor vehicle in the commission of certain traffic infractions;
4) broadened the legal hand signals used by cyclists;
5) I also authored an amendment requiring three feet of passing clearance when a vehicle overtakes a bicycle.

I continue to support more stringent safety requirements for motor vehicles operating near cyclists, and have worked for more funding to integrate bike lanes and multi-use paths into our overall state transportation planning.”

Pete Buttigieg:
“South Bend’s designation as a “Bicycle Friendly Community” is a meaningful step forward in the evolving identity of our city. Our economic recovery depends largely on our ability to furnish a good quality of life and to have more of the benefits normally associated with college towns. A bicycle-friendly culture is an important part of this growth, and I commend the BMC for its efforts to move our community forward in this direction.”

Barrett Berry:
“I’ve been a cyclist for over two decades. Cycling is my favorite form of excercise, recreation, and routine trasportation. Currenlty, I own three bikes and in the market for an updated cycle for the upcoming triathalon season.”


4 Responses to “South Bend Mayoral Candidates Respond to Michiana Cycling Questionnaire”

  1. Adam said

    Awesome work. This is exactly the type of thing that makes Bike Michiana worthwhile.

  2. Jeff Nixa said

    Thanks a million, Henry & BMC. This information is focused, extremely helpful and saves us chasing down candidates to ask these very same questions. The responses were quite interesting. I’ll share this with others.

    Keep up the great work,

  3. Daniel Escher said

    These responses are tremendously helpful. Thank you for sending these questions out – and thanks to the candidates who responded.

  4. Brock said

    Excellent work to BMC and candidates! Just might influence my vote.

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