Follow up: Biking to Work

About the author: Kay Morrison joined EPA’s Office of Public Affairs in January.

I moved to DC in January without a really good idea of what it would be like to live in an urban setting, but one thing I knew was that a city like this doesn’t play nice with bikes. So much for what I know – I’ve learned that my neighbors can ride bikes through Rock Creek Park all the way down town … I could do it too if I had a bike. From reading the answers to the May 12 question of the week, “Why are you or aren’t you biking to work,” I have learned that a surprising number of our readers do bike to work, all over the country.

The question really hit a nerve for our readers. Back when we “only” had 704 comments we counted them up (thanks to our intern, Dominic) to see who does, and who doesn’t, bike to work, and why. I assumed that far fewer people would bike to work than those who don’t, but it turns out to be really close. 345 commenters said they do bike, 359 said they don’t. Some of you combine biking with public transportation, some bike part of the time, some can’t bike to work but you use your bike when you can.

Bar chart showing number of comments why people don’t bike to work. Too dangerous: 119. Too far: 111. Too hot or too cold: 61. No place to shower or lock up the bike: 61. Taking children to school: 23.Of those who do bike to work, you do it to be green (saving carbon emissions not to mention $$ on gasoline and parking), or for the exercise, or for the pleasure it brings to be out in the air with critters and birds.

Those of you who do not bike to work were concerned for your safety – it’s clear that there aren’t enough safe biking routes, bike trails, or driver awareness of bicyclists. You also live pretty darn far from where you work.

What have you or your bike club or town planning commission done to make your community more bike friendly? How did you get your employer to support biking to work? Share your success stories and current projects. What steps can we, as citizens and bike to workers, take to make our communities and work places more bike friendly?

Thanks so much for all your interesting and thoughtful comments on this topic. I’ve learned a lot about biking from reading them – one of these days you may see me biking to work too!