Bike to Work Day in the San Francisco Bay Area has seen an increase in bicycle traffic on Bike to Work Day this year by 23%. The increase of interest in bike commuting and active transportation in the Bay Area is evident in the numbers of riders on this sunny spring day.
Energizer Stations in Alameda, Contra Costa, San Mateo, Marin, Sonoma, Solano, San Francisco, Santa Clara, and Napa counties were ready with coffee, reusable canvas bags and staffed with encouraging volunteers were bustling with bike commuters in the early morning hours. Bike riders and key elected officials, including a record number of East Bay Mayors headed to work on bicycles. Mayors Quan (Oakland) and Bates (Berkeley), Mayor Gayle McCaughlin (Richmond), Mayor Farid Javendal (Albany), Mayor John Chiang (Piedmont), Mayor Jennifer West (Emeryville), Mayor Stephen Cassidy (San Leandro), Mayor Mark Green (Union City), and Mayor Tim Sbranti (Dublin) all rode this morning. In San Francisco, MTC Commissioners David Campos and Scott Weiner joined nine of their colleagues on the Board of Supervisors in bicycling to the San Francisco Civic Center.
Echoing the sentiments of riders across the Bay Area, Dr. Todd Weizenberg, Director of Sports Medicine at Kaiser Permanente in Santa Rosa said, “Exercise is the prescription to a better life. Exercise on a regular basis can increase your mood, allow you to sleep better, improve your memory and concentration and decrease the chances of developing a chronic disease. Essentially, if you exercise more, and cycling is a great way to do it, you will live longer and have a better quality of life.”
Other National Bike Month programs are receiving attention, including Bike Commuter of the Year (BCOY) awards. A person in each of the nine Bay Area counties is recognized for their dedication to riding their bike for everyday transportation. They are a testament to the benefits of bicycle commuting: from improving their health to bringing families together. Nominations were accepted, evaluated and awarded by each county’s Bike to Work Day representative. The 2012 winners of the Bike Commuter of the Year award include: Kara Vuicich of Alameda County, a mom that transports her kids to school by bike; Curtis Corlew of Contra Costa, a college professor known by his bike; Terry Seaton of Marin County, an avid cyclist with her dog Lucy as her co-pilot; Dolores Chrisco of Napa County, an every day bike commuter that doesn’t shy away from inclement weather; Selena Kyle of San Francisco County, a lawyer that promotes everyday biking; Paul Mernyk of San Mateo County, an everyman bicyclist that inspires others with his enthusiasm; Ian Emmons of Santa Clara County lives a fun, car-free lifestyle; Tom Crowl of Solano County, enjoys saving money at the pumps, one ride at a time; and Pauli Frey of Sonoma County, a friendly cyclist that logs over 200 miles a week.
Team Bike Challenge, presented by Chipotle, a friendly competition to increase bicycling mileage throughout the month has seen an increase of over 25% participation and a 30% increase of actual mileage biked from 2011.
The success of Bike to Work Day 2012 and its associated programs bodes well for the rest of National Bike Month in May and makes the wait for next year’s Bike to Work Day seem even further away than Thursday May 9, 2013.
Bike to Work Day 2012 is presented by 511.org, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission and Kaiser Permanente, with additional support from Bay Area Air Quality Management District, Beyond Pix Studios, Clif Bar, Chipotle, Adobe, Typekit, REI, and Bike MS.