SAN DIEGO–In San Diego County, bicycles are on a roll. Enthusiastic riders joined the San Diego County Bicycle Coalition and San Diego Association of Governments’ (SANDAG) iCommute Program this morning to announce the official start of National Bike Month in San Diego County.
San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, SANDAG Board Member and San Diego City Council President Todd Gloria, San Diego Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman and Bike Coalition Executive Director Andy Hanshaw spoke about efforts to make the region more bike-friendly. They also highlighted bicycling events and safety and awareness efforts that will be taking place throughout May in the San Diego region.
National Bike to School Day is May 7 (local schools are encouraged to participate), the Bike Fiesta May 10 (Downtown Central Library, 10 a.m.- 2 p.m.),Bike to Work Day May 16 (more than 90 pit stops countywide). On Bike to Work Day, the biggest local event during Bike Month, more than 8,000 San Diegans are expected to leave their cars at home and use pedal power to get to work.
To celebrate the launch of Bike Month, the Bike Coalition led a short ride from Hillcrest to Downtown San Diego with a brief stop at RECON Environmental, Inc., winner of a SANDAG 2014 Diamond Award for promoting bicycling and other alternative transportation choices. The ride ended at Wells Fargo Plaza, where the Irvine Company is planning to double the number of bike parking spaces in the underground parking garage.
“America’s Finest City has embraced the bicycling movement wholeheartedly in recent years with the addition of green bike lanes, the creation of our first bike-share program and many other efforts to make our City friendlier to alternative modes of transportation,” said Mayor Faulconer. “National Bike Month is the perfect reason for San Diegans to pedal around this great City whether it’s for fun, fitness or commuting.”
SANDAG is working closely with cities throughout the San Diego region to expand the regional bike network. Last September, SANDAG committed to spending $200-million to complete 42 high priority bike projects totaling 77 miles in a decade. The first of these projects – a new 2,000-foot segment of the Coastal Rail Trail – opened in Oceanside last month. Also in April, the City of San Diego opened a new quarter-mile bike path along the San Diego River, funded with the regional TransNet half-cent sales tax administered by SANDAG. The new path connects Mission Valley east to west along the river and allows cyclists to travel safely under State Route 163 southeast of the Fashion Valley mall.
“With more than 1,340 miles of bikeways in the San Diego region, why isn’t every month Bike Month?” said Hanshaw. “We have the ability to become one of the most bicycle-friendly regions in the country if we can continue this momentum from May into the rest of the year, which is why the Bicycle Coalition is committed to year-round rides, education, and advocacy to teach and protect the rights of local bicyclists every day.”
To help new and experienced cyclists improve their bicycle handling skills and knowledge of the laws, San Diego County Bicycle Coalition hosts training classes, educational events, and entry-level rides every month.