Commuters Choose Active Transportation on Bike to Work Day
Today was another successful Bike to Work Day in the San Francisco Bay Area. Bike lanes, trails, and Energizer Stations were crowded with everyday bike commuters, a testament to the increase of active transportation throughout the Bay Area. As the positive economic, health, and social benefits of bicycling are widely accepted, more and more commuters are choosing two wheels over four. Regional bike counts have increased 33% over the last 5 years.
On a crisp morning in Santa Clara to the south, Sonoma to the north, San Francisco to the west, and Contra Costa to the east, eager bike commuters visited Energizer Stations where coffee and snacks flowed easily and reusable canvas bags were given away. Volunteers showed up early to cheer-on fellow bike commuters in the morning. Community members and elected officials, including Mayors Lee (San Francisco), Bates (Berkeley), Thomsen (Albany), Cassidy (San Leandro), Sbrianti (Dublin), McLaughlin (Richmond), Brinkman (Emeryville), Silva (Walnut Creek), Helix (Concord), Marchand (Livermore), Worth (Orinda), and Spitaleri (Sunnyvale) led bicycle convoys throughout the region.
"Exercise on a regular basis will improve the quality of your life," says Dr. Todd Weitzenberg, Chief - Sports Medicine, Kaiser Permanente Santa Rosa. "It can also help you sleep better, improve you memory and concentration, while decreasing your chances of developing a chronic disease... and cycling, like so many people are doing this Bike to Work Day, is a great way to incorporate exercise into your busy schedule."
Other National Bike Month programs that receive attention include the Bike Commuter of the Year (BCOY) award. A person in each of the nine counties is recognized for consistently riding their bike for transportation and inspiring others to do the same. Nominations were accepted, evaluated, and awarded by each county’s Bike to Work Day representative. The 2013 winners of the Bike Commuter of the Year award include: Janie Pinterits of Alameda County, whose increasing frustration with the rising price of gas started her on the road to bike commuting; Kyle Heartt of Napa County, a father that commutes with his son everyday; and Jill Quindiagan of Santa Clara whose sartorial turn on two wheels is well-documented by friends on the social rides she helps to organize. These stories and the stories of all the Bike Commuters of the Year illustrate the benefits of bike commuting.
Another program, Team Bike Challenge, is a friendly competition to increase personal bicycling mileage throughout the month of May. Points and medals are awarded as bicycling habits are reinforced and the possibility of winning a prize keeps participants peddling. The not-so-secret motivator being bragging rights. Excitement around active transportation means the rest of National Bike Month will go over well during the rest of May.
Bike to Work Day 2013 is presented by 511.org, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, and Kaiser Permanente, additional support is provided by the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, Beyond Pix Studios, Clif Bar, Typekit, Balance Bar, Adobe, Revolights, and REI. This day would not be possible without the assistance of local bike coalitions and traffic congestion agencies as well as numerous community volunteers.
For more information on Bike to Work Day or Team Bike Challenge, please visit www.youcanbikethere.com or teambikechallenge.com.