Bicycles: reasons to ride

DOWNEY - May was National Bike Month, and a host of activities took place in Downey, including the City's first Bike to School Day on May 8, Kids Day on May 11, during which the Downey Bicycle Coalition hosted a family bike ride from Apollo Park to Furman Park (along with a bike valet parking service), Bike to Work Day on May 15, and to cap off the month, the Downey Bicycle Coalition's monthly community bike ride this past Saturday.Nationwide nearly 1,700 schools participated in the second National Bike to School Day, 285 of them in California. National Bike Month itself is almost 60 years old, and it's notable that the number of Americans who commute by bicycle has grown by about 50% since the year 2000. It's also fitting not only to present to the Downey public the reasons for encouraging bicycling as put forth by Downey City Council at its last meeting, but also to remind bicyclists and vehicle drivers of the rules of the road for bicycles. We'll begin this week with the text of City Council's proclamation, quoted verbatim, as follows: "WHEREAS: for more than a century, the bicycle has been an important part of the lives of most Americans, is a viable and environmentally sound form of transportation, is an excellent form of fitness and is a quality family recreation activity; and "WHEREAS: millions of Californians will experience the joys of bicycling during the month of May through educational programs, races, commuting events, trail work days, helmet promotion, charity events, or just getting out and going for a ride; and "WHEREAS: creating bicycle-friendly communities has been shown to improve citizens' health, well-being and quality of life, to boost community spirit, to improve traffic safety, and to reduce pollution and congestion; and "WHEREAS: the education of cyclists and motorists as to the proper and safe operation of bicycles is important to ensure the safety and comfort of all users; and "WHEREAS: May has been declared National Bike Month for each of the last 57 years, and the League of American Bicyclists and independent cyclists throughout our state are promoting bicycling as a leisure activity as well as an environmentally-friendly alternative to the automobile. "NOW, THEREFORE, I, Dn. Mario A. Guerra, Mayor of the City of Downey, do hereby proclaim the week of May 13-19, 2013, "National Bike to Work Week" in Downey and encourage everyone to participate and to share the road safely with bicyclists." So there you have the rationale--concisely stated, supported, and encouraged by local government--for riding a bike. Next time we'll present the rules of the road for bicyclists as provided by the Downey Bicycle Coalition to all student riders (while supplies lasted) on Bike to School Day.

********** Published: May 30, 2013 - Volume 12 - Issue 07

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