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1 Million Commuters Get Free Ride on May 20th
One million people in cities across the country will ride their bikes to work on National Bike to Work Day, Friday, May 20th, saving themselves more than $4 per gallon in gas costs while simultaneously reducing congestion, energy consumption and air pollution.
"We've been celebrating bike to work day for more than 50 years," said Andy Clarke, president of the League of American Bicyclists, "and there's never been a better time for people to try this commuting option. More and more cities are putting in bike lanes, trails and parking for bikes, and as gas prices go up and congestion gets worse, biking looks like an increasingly attractive choice."
National bike commuter data, provided by the American Community Survey, supports that more Americans are biking to work – there has been a nationwide 44 percent increase over the past 10 years. Communities that have actively encouraged bicycling have seen even bigger increases, including those designated by the League as Bicycle Friendly Communities (BFCs). Platinum-level BFC Portland, Ore. has seen a 230 percent increase in bicycle commuters since 2000, their percentage holding steady at 5.8 percent of work trips, while 12.3 percent of citizens in Platinum BFC Boulder, Colo. ride every day. Other stand out BFC commuting cities include: Silver-level Gainesville, Fla. with 6.3 percent, and Gold-level Minneapolis, Minn.’s number of 3.9 percent commuting by bike daily. Statistics for more than 200 U.S. cities are available here.
The Majority of the League’s BFCs and Bicycle Friendly Universities (BFUs) are hosting city and campus Bike to Work Day events. “The encouragement to bike in these BFCs and BFUs on Bike to Work Day is just a start to get more people riding but it is the tipping point that influences many non-riders to bike to work or shcool for the first time,” says Clarke.
Notable 2011 Bike to Work Day events include:
Recently upgraded to a Silver-level BFC designation, Washington, D.C. is hosting a huge Bike to Work Day celebration across the DC Metro area, complete with 49 pit stops and a festival at D.C.’s Freedom Plaza. Currently, 8,900 are registered and 10,000 are expected to participate. “This one-day show of force allows us to highlight for area leaders and the public at-large the prevalence of cycling as a core component of the region's transportation system,” says Shane Farthing, executive director of the Washington Area Bicyclist Association. The US Secretary of Energy Steven Chu and Federal Transit Administration Peter Rogoff are both speaking and riding their bikes to the event. Visit www.waba.org for event details.
New York City also recently upgraded to become a Silver-Level BFC and has been celebrating Bike Month for all of May with more than 200 rides, workshops, races and events. NYC’s Bike to Work Day is the city’s focal point with Transportation Alternatives hosting eight rest stop locations, including on the Brooklyn Bridge and the Staten Island Ferry Terminal. Check www.bikemonthnyc.org for a list of events.
Boise Idaho, has a 4.1% of bicycle commuters and has hosted a popular and successful Bike Month and Bike to Work Day since 2003. The city is home to Bronze-leve BFU Boise State University, which homes the Bicycle Community Congress. Boise Bike Week has been packed with events, including: a kickoff celebration, rides, fairs, picnics, a ride of silence, and mountain bike intros. Bike to Work Day is expected to attract hundreds of riders and includes after work events, such as a recumbent rally and a bike-in movie. For full Boise Bike to Work details visit: www.boisebikeweek.org.
Bronze-level BFC Auburn, Ala. is having several events to celebrate Bike to Work Day, with several encouraging school children to bike. The citywide Bike to School Competition will have each homeroom class in grades 1-5 riding their bicycles to school on May 20. The homeroom with the most riders will receive an ice cream social courtesy of the Auburn Bicycle Committee. The day after Bike to Work Day will be celebrated with a Mountain Bike the Acorn Trail ride – a 3.1 mile loop, single track with a ride through beautiful woods and creek crossings at the Acorn Trail in Alex City, AL. All events are listed here.
The League provides national support for Bike Month and Bike to Work Week and Day activities. We offer organizational and promotional tools such as the Bike Month Planning guide and free Bike Month logos, signs and web banners. The League also hosts the national database for Bike to Work Week and Day events. Most importantly, the League has tips to ride better, safer and more confidently in traffic. All resources can be found at bikeleague.org/bikemonth.