Dump the gas pump

Motorists, move over. The Jacksonville City Council has proclaimed Friday, May 19, as Bike-to-Work Day, and the City’s Bicycle Pedestrian Advisory Committee is challenging residents to ride their bicycles, walk, or use public transportation in attempting a car-free commute for the entire week beginning Monday, May 15 to Friday, May 19.

“The goal is to build awareness of the City’s active transportation initiatives, and to help people break down the barriers to taking active transportation modes in the city,” said Amy Ingles of Riverside, Jacksonville’s bicycle/pedestrian coordinator in an email. It is important for motorists to see cyclists in regular clothing peddling to work so more drivers will be encouraged to give their vehicles a rest and use bikes, she said. 

Ingles encourages participants to take a photo or video of themselves on their commute and post it on social media using the hashtag #CarFreeWeekJax. The City is also interested in having non-motorized commuters fill out a Google Form survey about their commute, asking for information about the distance, mode, employer, etc.

“Super commuters,” will be recognized during a special awards ceremony at Intuition Ale Works after work on Friday, May 19, 6 to 8 p.m. For those who posted commuter selfies and participated in the survey, prizes will be offered for “Longest Commute,” “Most Enthusiastic,” “Most Days Participated,” etc. To qualify for a prize, participants must fill out the survey: tinyurl.com/CarFreeWeekJax, and participate in the social media photo/hashtag posts. While sipping discounted beer, atten-
dees at the celebration can network with like-
minded cyclists and pedestrians, Ingles said.

Pedestrians and runners are also encouraged to participate, and drivers who don’t think riding, walking or biking is feasible are encouraged to switch to public transit or carpool, or even park a distance away from their place of employment. Regular bus or skyway riders are encouraged to simply get off one or two stops earlier, Ingles said.

In Ordinance 2017-295, which was introduced by District 4 Councilman Scott Wilson, the Council lent its support to Car-Free Week by citing bicycling as an “environmentally friendly” form of transportation, and encouraged all Jacksonville citizens to support Bike-to-Work Week.

In the Ordinance, the Council also declared cycling as beneficial to health and said, by setting aside the time for cycling to work, it hopes its citizenry can gain a greater public awareness of bicycle operation and safety in an effort to reduce accidents, injuries and fatalities on Jacksonville’s roadways.

“The City Council encourages Jacksonville citizens to partake in National Bike-to-Work Week, from May 15 through May 19, to take advantage of the opportunity to enjoy the health benefits, to reduce commuting costs, and to improve overall attitude and morale,” reads the Ordinance. “It is important that all levels of government, employers large and small, and the community as a whole encourage bicycling as a viable transportation alternative, both as means of reducing pollution and alleviating roadway congestion.”

For more details on eligibility or sponsorship, visit jacksonvillebikemonth.com/carfreeweek.

By Marcia Hodgson
Resident Community News

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