Thursday, June 7, 2012

2012 Bike Month Recap from SD Downtown News

Bike Month activities yield record-breaking results

Posted: June 6th, 2012 | Featured, News | No Comments
Over 8,500 local residents counted county-wide biking on Bike to Work Day
By Ashley Mackin | Downtown News
On May 1, the San Diego County Bicycle Coalition (SDCBC), along with local elected officials and representatives from the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG), declared May as Bike Month in San Diego.
County Supervisor Greg Cox gave SDCBC a proclamation designating May as Bike To Work Month in San Diego and at the same time, voiced his support of biking to work year-round.
Also encouraging bicyclists to ride on a regular basis, SDCBC Executive Director Andy Hanshaw said, “We are excited to have the opportunity to bring greater awareness to the benefits of bicycling and encourage people of all ages and abilities to join the ride [with Bike to Work Month].”
Hanshaw identified a number of benefits to bicycling, including exercise and having a clean gas-saving mode of transportation, as well as the fact that San Diego weather makes bicycling suitable all year round.
District Three Councilmember Todd Gloria cited a statistic that 40 percent of vehicle trips are two miles or less. “Can you imagine what we could accomplish if we would simply substitute many of those trips for bicycle rides, instead? We could make a significant impact on the quality of life in our neighborhoods. … It would be a tremendous thing,” he said.
(left to right) District Eight Councilmember David Alvarez, San Diego Association of Governments Chair Jerome Stocks, District Three Councilmember Todd Gloria, County Supervisor Greg Cox, and San Diego County Bike Coalition Executive Director Andy Hanshaw, at the Bike Month kickoff. (Photo by Ashley Mackin)
District Eight Councilmember David Alvarez said he rides a bicycle to City Hall because driving to work would put him in that same statistic. “I do live … less than two miles away from where I work,” he said, adding that he rides his bicycle often, including to work. Alvarez also told the crowd that sometimes he leaves for work at the same time as a nearby trolley, and he often gets to City Hall first.
Gloria said as a city councilmember, issues surrounding parking make up the majority of complaints. “If I can just get more folks to ride bikes I could solve the parking problem …” he said. “We don’t need massive parking structures, we just need more bicycles.”
Jaime Ortiz, a SDCBC volunteer, said riding a bike on a daily basis is easy. “I think the important thing to remember when your talking about bicycling as a commuting option is that it’s a part of your life,” she said. “You wear what you wear in your car. … You don’t have to be dressed in any particular fashion or any particular attire to jump on your bike.
“You don’t have to wear spandex … you can be comfortable, you can wear jeans and have beautiful hair and you can wear makeup, you can look good on a bike and also get around,” she said.
On Bike to Work Day, SANDAG-sponsored “pit stops,” where volunteers dispensed shirts and snacks, yielded record-breaking results.
A SANDAG press release stated, “More than 7,000 bicyclists stopped at the 78 pit stops that have reported in so far. Last year saw a record 6,000 cyclists checking in at the stops. In all, there were 85 pit stops around the county on Friday, May 18. … Additionally, pit-stop volunteers counted 2,500 cyclists who pedaled by, opting not to stop.”
Dan Martin, a principal planner for SANDAG was quoted in the release, “It is probably a combination of things, from high gas prices to a healthier outlook on life. Many people look upon bicycling as a way of putting a little money back into their pockets each time they realize they don’t have to fill the car with gas, they don’t have to pay parking fees and tolls, and they don’t have to make car repairs.”
Hanshaw thinks the activities and support found during Bike Month will encourage people to ride bikes all year, which is what organizers intended. “The idea [behind Bike to Work Day] is they develop confidence and the skills to get out there and try it more and we want to see people do it as much as they can to help our traffic, environment and save money,” Hanshaw said.

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