By Dave Iltis
May 12, 2015 – The Salt Lake City and County Mayor's Bike to Work Day saw a great turnout of around 175 riders including Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams and Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker. The ride highlighted the ease and importance of commuting to work by bicycle.
Mayor McAdams pushed commuting by bicycling, “We all know that cycling is fun, healthy, and saves tax dollars, but we want to get to the point where we do it because it's the fastest, safest, and easiest way to get around.” He emphasized Salt Lake County's upcoming focus on regional connectivity. He also renewed his commitment to give Salt Lake County workers a financial benefit for riding to work.
(More Bike Month activities: https://www.cyclingutah.com/advocacy/may-is-2015-bike-month-ride-your-bike-and-celebrate/)
Mayor Becker spoke of Salt Lake City's upcoming Bicycle Boulevard on 600 East, and the new protected bike lane going in the summer on 200 W. He encouraged cyclists to get involved and to support projects like these.
David Jones, head of the Salt Lake County Bicycle Ambassadors, when asked about why it's important to commute by bike said, “Have you looked at the air?” He also noted that cycling has economic, environmental, and health advantages. “Locally, billions are spent to address weight related health concerns. If we put a small percentage back to bicycle advocacy, then, ‘Home Run!'”
The ride started at the new Draw in Sugarhouse Park and headed west to Whole Foods for a too soon breakfast stop. It then followed the S Line bike path to 600 East, through Liberty Park. The ride continued on to the new 300 S. protected bike lane and finished at the Salt Lake City and County Building. Salt Lake City Police motorcycle and bike squads escorted the ride throughout, corking the intersections for safe passage. Mayor Becker wasn't able to complete the ride due to his second or third flat tire that day.
Ten Tips for Commuting by Bike
- Ride safely and predictably.
- Choose your route ahead of time. Find a route with bike lanes or bike paths, and use low traffic streets if possible.
- Invest in a good U-Lock or extra heavy duty chain. Add a cable to secure your wheels.
- Make sure your bike is tuned and in good working order. If you haven't ridden it in awhile, it may not need a tune, but it does need a good inspection to see if all systems are working properly, that the brake pads and tires are not cracked, and that the chain is lubed.
- If you live far from work, combine your bike commute with UTA's buses or Trax. Buy a GreenBike or bikeshare pass if you work in downtown Salt Lake City or Boise.
- Start by commuting one day a week, and then add more days as you feel comfortable. If you really want to go all in, consider selling your car and combining bike commuting with transit, car share, and bikeshare.
- Bring your bike in to your workplace, or lock it in a visible area to avoid theft.
- License and register your bike to aid in recovery if it's stolen.
- Your bicycle is considered a vehicle when you are riding on the roadway. Obey all traffic laws applicable to cyclists.
- Ask your employer if they offer the bicycle commuter benefit.
- Read bike commuting articles and profiles: https://www.cyclingutah.com/category/commuting/