Across the country today, folks are observing National Bike to Work Day, an annual celebration of bicycle commuting. I think it's a terrific way to wrap up National Transportation Week because it reminds us that bicyclists--like car-poolers, truckers, and other drivers--are important users of America's roadways.
I'm particularly pleased that so many DOT employees at our headquarters took advantage of the nice weather in Washington, DC, and rode their bikes into work today.
DOT Undersecretary for Policy Roy Kienitz and Federal Transit Administrator Peter Rogoff, spoke to a large crowd at the Washington Area Bicyclist Association's annual Bike to Work Day rally at Freedom Plaza.
This year, the association registered more than 10,000 cyclists who biked to work, some in commuter convoys, to 49 different pit-stops throughout the region. Over 2,000 cyclists stopped by the Freedom Plaza event on their way to work to get to know their fellow cyclists and celebrate the benefits of cycling.
I’ve said many times before on this blog that bicycling should no longer be treated as a second-class form of transportation when it comes to policymaking. Administrator Rogoff emphasized that idea today:
"The Obama Administration has been making great progress to advance cycling as a mainstream, efficient way to commute to work. These roads are meant to be shared, and we're helping to make that happen."
And with gas prices above four dollars a gallon in many communities, bicycling has become an even more sensible option. As Administrator Rogoff said, "Cycling is more than just a healthy way to get around; it goes right to the core of achieving President Obama's effort to reduce our nation's dependence on oil."
That's why Undersecretary Kienitz spoke today about DOT’s efforts to make bicycling safer and easier. As he said, "If a 65-year-old Republican from Peoria can support cycling, anyone can."
I don't know who Undersecretary Kienitz was referring to, but I agree with him.
To foster options that allow Americans to leave their cars at home, DOT'’s TIGER grant program supports the creation of livable communities that treat cycling and walking as valued elements of the nation’s transportation system.
We’re promoting bicycle and pedestrian-friendly “complete streets” policies, which help ensure the roads we build and repair are safe and convenient for everyone. And the FTA is providing grants for bicycle projects within three miles of a transit facility that improve access to public transit.
In addition, we are encouraging children to walk and bike to school safely through our Safe Routes to Schools Programs.
It’s clear that Bike to Work Day was once again a great success and an effective reminder that bicycling is part of the solution to America's transportation challenges. Congratulations to everyone who hit the streets today!