The Connecticut Department of Transportation is promoting bicycling and cycle safety in the month of May. Several towns around the state and other organizations will be hosting events all month long. Bike to Work Week is May 14th through the 18th, culminating in Bike to Work Day on Friday, May 18. Visit Bike Walk Connecticut at www.bikewalkct.org
for a listing of events and a link to the National Bike Challenge.
Bike month is a national awareness campaign to highlight bicycling, both as a form of transportation and for recreation. Bicycling is accessible to most people, including the young, old and disabled. A bike can offer access to destinations that would otherwise be hard to reach for those without a car. Bicycling is not just for recreation; errands, social visits and commuting can all be accomplished by bicycle. The month of May is a great time to get out and try riding, and Bike Walk CT wants you to know that ďitís easier than you think!Ē
Making bicycling part of your commute can be easy. If you are within a couple miles from work, just jump on and ride. If you are further away, you can combine bicycling and other modes. CTTransit buses and many local buses have bike racks to allow you to access locations not directly on the bus route. Combine your carpool with a bike housed at work to give you more flexibility during the day. Do you take the train? Bikes are permitted on Shoreline East and Metro North (off peak and in the non-peak direction during peak hours). Help in determining how to incorporate transit into your commute is available at www.CTrides.com.
Owning a bike is less expensive than owning a car; often a good second hand bike can be found for the price of a tank of gas. If you donít own a bike, you can rent or borrow one. Check local bike shops to see if they offer rentals. Bike share programs are now available in Mystic, New London and Simsbury, as well as many institutions around the state. Other towns are interested in bringing bike share to their communities. Get involved and make it happen in your community.
Bicycling is a great means of transportation for children. Many of Connecticutís schools participate in the Safe Routes to School program www.ctsaferoutes.ct.gov. Check out the program and see how your schools and neighborhoods can benefit. May is a great month to teach your child to ride a bike and obey traffic rules. Teaching them to ride will give them independence and mobility while they donít have a license, and improve their driving skills for when they do. Fighting childhood obesity can be as fun as taking a ride to the nearest park and you can start May 9th, Bike to School Day.
May is also a time to draw attention to the need to share the transportation network safely and courteously with all users. The road goes both ways; if everyone follows the rules, injuries will be kept to a minimum. Bicyclists: same road/same rules; behave like a vehicle and be predictable. Motorists: look for cyclists and pedestrians and be courteous in passing and turning. To see a suitability index for state roads, visit www.ctbikemap.org. Promotional materials and a list of laws pertaining to cyclists are available from the DOT at www.sharetheroadct.org. While wearing a helmet is the law for those under 16, it is common sense for all riders. Use lights at night and wear white or reflective clothing to make yourself more visible.
May is a time to celebrate the benefits of bicycling. Bicycling improves not only your health through cardiovascular exercise, but also the health of your community through reduced auto air pollution. Diversifying your commute reduces traffic congestion by removing automobiles from the road. Take advantage of all that Connecticut has to offer. The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection provides recreational opportunities in every corner of the state! Check out all state parks that offer mountain biking and multi-use trails at: www.ct.gov/dep/parkmaps .
Get out and ride!