Bicyclists get free roadside assistance in Connecticut city

Maureen Hart was riding home on the Founders Bridge into Hartford when the tire on her bicycle went flat.

Stranded on her way home from a friend’s house, Hart took advantage of a program she’d learned about just days before. While at a jazz concert in Bushnell Park, she and other friends who rode there were approached by a city bicycle “safety ambassador,” who gave them a phone number to call if they ever needed roadside assistance.

Hart called that number and soon a bicycle mechanic was on hand, putting a new tube in her tire.

“This is such a cool service,” she said. “I know people who live in Portland (Oregon) and that’s a really bicycle-friendly city. They don’t have anything like this. This is amazing.”

The free roadside assistance initiative is run by the Hartford Business Improvement District. It is part of the organization’s Clean and Safe program, which puts those “safety ambassadors” on downtown streets, giving free assistance to stranded motorists, providing security escorts and acting as another set of eyes and ears for police, said Jordan Polon, the business district’s executive director.

The group added bicycle assistance in May to encourage bicycle commuting in the city and ease some the fears associated with it, she said.

Since then, Polon said the team has performed 42 roadside assistance calls for bicycles.

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