Tens of thousands of cyclists across the Bay Area took to the streets for a zero emission commute on Bike to Work Day yesterday. Over 190 Energizer Stations were strategically placed around the Bay to support the event. Encouragement, complimentary food, free tote bags and bike related information were provided by thousands of volunteers hosting these stations.
Elected officials put the pedal to the pavement as well. MTC Commissioner and Santa Clara County Supervisor Ken Yeager road his bike to San Jose City Hall and has been riding his bike to work all month long as part of the Team Bike Challenge campaign, which continues until the end of May. San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom also participated in the day’s festivities by riding a bicycle to City Hall, where he declared an ambitious set of milestones for better bicycling in San Francisco. MTC Commissioner and San Francisco Supervisor Tom Ammiano also pedaled to work.
Bike groups around the region hosted a variety of special events yesterday, from a pancake breakfast for cyclists in downtown Oakland, to “Bike Away From Work" parties in San Francisco and San Jose.
Bike to Work Day organizers estimate that participation in this 13th annual event reached the 100,000s. “On a normal workday, some 36,000 Bay Area residents bike to work,” said MTC bike planner Susan Heinrich. “We figure we pretty much tripled those numbers yesterday.”
In San Francisco, the number of people bicycling yesterday on Market Street increased 27 percent over last year's event. Counts by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency showed 647 cyclists riding eastbound on Market Street near Van Ness Avenue between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m., compared to 509 cyclists at the same location and time during last year’s event. Yesterday’s Bike to Work Day figure of 647 cyclists along this stretch also is double the prior day’s figure, when 328 bicyclists were counted between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m.
Team Bike Challenge is proving to be even more popular than in its inaugural year in 2006, with the number of registered teams double last year’s count. Each team consists of up to five people who pledge to pedal to work and errands as much as possible during the month of May. Cole Portocarrero, Executive Director of the Bay Area Bicycle Coalition, which is coordinating Bike to Work Day/Month activities for MTC, reports that 233 teams have signed up this year, up from 109 last year. That translates to nearly 1,000 people committed to minimizing driving and maximizing bike trips for a solid month.
“Bike to Work Day organizers would like to give special thanks to the presenting sponsors, 511.org and Webcor Builders for their support in making this important community event possible,” said Portocarrero.