SLO #BikeThere rolls out tomorrow
#BikeThere... and why not? You know it's not going to rain! And from May 20-23, you might just win some sweet stuff. Since it's the 2020's now, and not everyone has returned to work in person, it seems "Bike to Work Week" has transitioned to part week, part weekend, with a hashtag.
Put together by rideshare.org and a pannier full of local partners, #bikethere aims to increase bike awareness and advocate for non-car transportation. According to a 2018 SLO County study 1.6% of SLO county residents commute to work, which puts it about 30% higher than the 1.1% state average. Maybe that's why SLO is so renown as a bike friendly city?
In seriousness, a quick calculation brings the actual number to around 2200, which sounds much more impressive than 1.6%. We're glad to know there are thousands of us who have risked our lives in narrow, cracked, weed-filled bike lanes while passing a Bike Friendly City Gold Member sign. To SLO county's credit, they've been busy lately making improvements across the county, as this map shows. But there's a long way to go, to get 98.4% of people out of their cars, and onto that brand new bike in the garage that sent sales soaring during Covid. Hopefully local business incentives such as gift cards, bike gear, and snacks get people pedaling.
By the way, what do all those bike friendly designations actually mean? The city of SLO (Gold), Arroyo Grande (Bronze), and Morro Bay (Bronze) all have them. They are designated by The League of American Bicyclists, who have been around since 1880 (penny farthings, anyone?) According to their website, they've had 1500 applications, and granted 485 designations since the program began in the 1990's. The goal of these designations is to serve as a "tool for states, communities, business and universities to make bicycling a real transportation and recreation option for all people". They have built a detailed, wheel shaped (of course!) infographic for certification criteria, which must be applied for, and lasts four years.
There is does not appear to be a section for cracks and weeds in bike trails. But we're glad that some of our local municipalities are having these conversations. Pedal power to the people!