Last Thursday was , and hundreds of commuters on the Peninsula and throughout the Bay Area hopped on bikes to mark the event’s 17th year.
Biking is not only an Earth-friendly transportation option. It’s also a great workout and it can save you money as gas prices increase once again. If you’ve been considering ditching the car and biking to work or to run errands, there are many resources on the Peninsula that will help make your trip faster, more convenient and — most importantly — safer.
511 for Bikes
The website 511.org, your source for Bay Area traffic updates and public transit trip planning, also has an entire section dedicated to bicycling: bicycling.511.org. The website offers information on selecting a bike, bicycle safety, bicycle parking, and taking your bike on public transit and crossing toll bridges.
County Bicycle Map
The City/County Association of Governments of San Mateo County, a public agency representing 20 cities and the county, developed a countywide bicycle map that shows official bike lanes and paths, as well as unofficial routes suggested by cyclists.
To download and print the map, visit C/CAG’s website and scroll down the page.
'Let’s Roll' Contest
If you bike to work or to your transit stop at least eight times by June 30, you can receive a $40 gift certificate and be eligible for great prizes like a folding bicycle. The “Let’s Roll” campaign, sponsored by the Peninsula Traffic Congestion Relief Alliance, is open to anyone who commutes through, from or to San Mateo County. Be sure to register for the contest by this Friday, May 20.
The Peninsula Traffic Congestion Relief Alliance also helps to make workplaces in San Mateo County friendlier to cycling commuters. No secure parking for your bike at your workplace? Tell your employer about the Alliance’s program to pay for half the cost of bike parking racks. The Alliance will also put on a free, one-hour bicycle safety workshop for you and your coworkers; your employer simply needs to provide the room.
San Mateo residents are especially lucky, in that the city has working hard on a Citywide Bicycle Master Plan that will help planners better strategize how to improve bike paths and bike safety throughout the city. In fact the City Council just reviewed the plan during a study session on Monday. (A copy of the bike plan in its current draft is attached to this story.)
As a resident, you can help guide this plan to fruition by letting council members know how important it is that cyclists are able to navigate the city safely and conveniently.
To learn about countywide bicycle planning, check out C/CAG’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Committee, which meets the last Thursday of each month at .
In early 2012, Redwood City will launch a pilot Bike Share program that will allow Caltrain riders to check out bikes to ride to their final destination that is not within reasonable walking distance from the train station.
Upon reaching their destination, riders will check bikes back in at a bike “pod.” The city is currently identifying heavily trafficked areas within a 2-mile to 3-mile radius of the train station as good locations for the bike pods, said Redwood City spokesperson Malcolm Smith.
Bike San Mateo County aims for the county to fully support bicycles as part of the transportation system and advocates for more bike racks and safe ways for cyclists to cross Highway 101.
The Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition, headquartered in San Jose, campaigns for bicycle-friendly roads in San Mateo and Santa Clara counties and connecting trails across the Peninsula, in addition to offering classes on bike safety and repair.
Alexis Petru is a staff writer for the national environmental website Earth911.com. Her column appears biweekly.