State agencies gear up for Bike to Work Week
Pennsylvania is joining states across the nation in recognizing May 2015 as National Bike Month, and state and local officials will get the effort rolling Monday, May 11, by riding around Harrisburg before participating in a media event.
Billed as the “Executive’s Community Bicycle Ride,” organizers say the event is planned so that “our executives, legislators, local community and civic leaders can experience a fun, short ride in the City of Harrisburg.” The 3.5-mile ride will conclude with “Bike to Work Press Event,” starting promptly at 9 a.m. at the Capitol steps/Main Entrance on 3rd Street. Riders will push off after an 8 a.m. initial ride and safety orientation at the Capitol Fountain, Commonwealth Avenue.
The state House of Representatives, at least three state departments, the City of Harrisburg and the bicycling community all will be represented in a kick-off gathering set for 9 a.m. Monday on the Capitol steps. Participants will embark on a ride through Harrisburg after addressing the media.
“As we review our recently completed statewide outdoor recreation plan, one overwhelming request of the public stands outs—more requests for bike lanes and paths where bicyclists can safely pursue their passion,” said DCNR Acting Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn, who will be biking with the group. “DCNR’s grant program stands ready to help communities with funding and technical assistance to improve trails for recreation and transportation purposes.”
DCNR’s Community Conservation Partnerships Program grants assist communities and non-profits with conservation and recreation projects including trails, greenways and local parks.
“Though this week is designed to focus attention on the benefits of biking to work, I urge all bicycling enthusiasts to seek out our state parks and forestlands when the weekends roll around. With 120 state parks and 2.2 million acres of state forest, biking opportunities are endless,” said Dunn. “Providing biking opportunities, like so many outdoor activities, makes our citizens healthier and attracts residents and visitors who support our communities economically.”
Among those joining Dunn Monday will be:
State Rep. Madeleine Dean, sponsor of resolution: “Bike Month,” “Bike to Work Week,” and “Bike to Work Day” in Pennsylvania; Representative David Maloney, sponsor of HB150 (the license plate promoting “Share the Road”), Scott Christie, deputy secretary, highway administration, Department of Transportation; Martin Raniowski, deputy secretary, health planning and assessment, Department of Health; Eric Papenfuse, mayor of Harrisburg; and Geoffrey Knight, director, Harrisburg City Bureau of Planning; the Lancaster League of American Bicyclists; and Capitol Police Bike Squad.
At the close of the week-long observance, on Friday, May 15, Harrisburg’s Keystone Building again will be scene of the Spoke ’n Gear Bicycle Expo from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. The event is open to the public. Bicycling commuters in the Harrisburg area and those interested in learning more about bicycle commuting are especially encouraged to participate.
The expo will feature exhibitors and presenters addressing various bicycle commuting options and resources. Demonstrations, clinics and workshops will be offered throughout the day.
The U.S. Census Bureau reports that the share of Americans commuting by bike has grown by 47 percent since 2000. Bicycle-friendly communities, such as Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, have more than doubled their bike commuter share in that time.
The League of American Bicyclists started National Bike Month in 1956. Since then, it has grown to include National Bike to Work Week and Day.
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