Saturday, June 1, 2013

National Bike Month Coming to an End

National bike month is coming to an end, but that does not mean stop riding or that awareness should be put aside by motor vehicle drivers. This is a month that is sponsored by People for Bikes, The League of American Bicyclists and other organizations to educate the public about sharing the road with bicyclists and to remind bicycle riders of their responsibilities. People ride bicycles for all kinds of reasons, for enjoyment, exercise, to do errands and as a way to save on high fuel prices traveling to and from work.

It is a healthy and environmentally clean hobby or mode of transportation. The one downfall is the amount of collisions with motor vehicle drivers that happen annually, resulting in bodily harm or death. This month has been a time to get involved in bringing awareness in local communities and the state, for people of all ages.

This is essential with the data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey that shows bicyclists have increased by 47 percent since 2000. This means in some areas bicycle riding has more than doubled going from 1.7 billion riders in 2001 to approximately 4 billion by 2009. San Francisco ranks 3rd on the list of the 70 Largest Cities for Bike Commuting, which saw a 3.4 percent increase in 2011 of bicyclists. Anaheim, California comes in at number 20 on the list, followed by Santa Ana at number 25, Long Beach is 26, Los Angeles is number 27, San Jose at 29, San Diego at 29, Riverside at number 30 and followed by Fresno at number 33. Bakers Field, California ranked number 50 and Stockton came in at number 52.

What this data shows motorists is that in every city in California, as well as other states there are people young and old riding bicycles to commute and for fun. The media has even joined in with segments for National Bike Month, like the Santa Monica Lose 5 with 5, which focused on the benefits of biking for health, the environment and economical reasons. One of the other reasons for National Bike Month is Bike to Work Day. According to L.A. County Bicycle Coalition (LACBC) Educational Director Colin Bogart, one of the goals is to encourage people who have not tried bicycle riding to ride to work. Bogart believes they might find it enjoyable and continue riding at least part-time.

Another of the focuses in Los Angeles this month was Fix Your Bike Day on May 13, where novice bike riders and those experienced could learn how to fix their bikes at bike repair workshops located around the city. According to Metro Communications Manager Dave Sotero, on an average Los Angeles residents commute approximately 28.1 miles each way, with public transportation only covering a fraction of the city.

He said that bicycles can offer a first mile and last mile solution for commuters. Meaning many commuters could leave their car at home and ride their bicycle to connect with public transportation, saving money on gasoline and being kind to the environment.