May is National Bike Month, sponsored by the League of American Bicyclists and is celebrated in communities from coast to coast. Established in 1956, National Bike Month is a chance to showcase the many benefits of bicycling — and encourage more folks to giving biking a try.
The benefits of bicycle riding include improved physical and mental health, low-impact on the environment and an inexpensive form of transportation. The number of bicyclists is growing rapidly from coast to coast. The National Household Travel Survey showed that the number of trips made by bicycle in the U.S. more than doubled from 1.7 billion in 2001 to 4 billion in 2009.
What Makes A Community Bike-Friendly?
The League of American Bicyclists Bike Friendly America (BFA) provides technical assistance to communities to help communities become bike – friendly. The BFA program recommends a commitment to the 5 E’s:
- Engineering: Creating safe and convenient places to ride and park [+]
- Education: Giving people of all ages and abilities the skills and confidence to ride [+]
- Encouragement: Creating a strong bike culture that welcomes and celebrates bicycling [+]
- Enforcement: Ensuring safe roads for all users [+]
- Evaluation & Planning: Planning for bicycling as a safe and viable transportation option
Making communities bike-friendly has shown to improve citizens health and well-being, quality of life, to boost community spirit, to improve traffic safety, attract tourism dollars, to grow the economy, to reduce pollution, congestion and wear and tear on roads and streets.
Efforts to Make Franklin County Bike-Friendly
A variety of grass roots group, municipalities and bicycle enthusiasts have been working for several years to make bicycling a real transportation and recreation option for all people. From education to planning to coordinated-bicycle rides, Franklin County is fast - becoming more bike-friendly. From trail and bike path improvements to long-range transportation efforts, a variety of stakeholders are facilitating a culture change. Below are a few of those stakeholders:
The Franklin County Cyclists (FCC), which started in 2008 and has over 200 members and over 700 Facebook followers, works to promote safe, healthy, fun activities for cyclists, as well as educate riders and the general public. They are best known for their signature, weekly rides which are open to riders of all levels.
The Chambersburg Borough recently adopted its first Bicycle and Pedestrian Improvement Plan adopted a proclamation on April 23, 2018 which declared May as “National Bike Month” and May 18 as National Bike to Work Day.
The Franklin County Metropolitan Planning Organization is currenting in the process of updating the County’s Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTP). LRTP’s identify priority projects and help direct state and federal transportation dollars for local transportation improvement projects, including non-motorized projects. The MPO is currently looking for community input through a survey, public meetings and an interactive wiki map. Franklin County Government is also proclaiming May National Bike Month in May.
Commuter Services PA provides incentives that promote alternative forms of transportation, including bicycling. Commuter services is coordinating an employer vs employer bike challenge during the month of May which requires all participants to join Commute PA, an app which tracks and provides incentives for participants who choose to walk, bike, carpool, vanpool, telecommute or ride a train to get to and from work.
Do you ride a bike? Why or why not? If you're a novice bike rider, National Bike Month is an opportunity to explore the many benefits of bicycling. If you're a pro, National Bike Month is a geat way to celebrate the reasons why you ride and to inspire others to try bicylcing!