FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 1, 2020
Help Us Celebrate National Bike Month
CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA - With spring in the air, the City of Charlottesville, and the League of American Bicyclists, the national organization of bicyclists, announce that May is National Bike Month.
As advised by the Centers for Disease control and Governor Northam’s executive order, in-person events are canceled this year. However, the City encourages walking, biking, and rolling on your own to celebrate Bike Month 2020. Staying active (as allowed under the Governor’s order while practicing social distancing) can improve energy levels, keep our body healthy, and reduce stress- essential in times like these.
While people cannot gather together to celebrate Bike Month, it’s still a great time to focus on safety, fun and community connection. The City has worked with community partners to create and promote a variety of activities and resources - from “how to” classes and safety tips, to self-guided bike rides and family activities. In addition, the City is partnering with Veo to offer free e-bike rides during the month of May.
Tim Drayna, Veo’s Eastern Regional General Manager, says, “Veo has its roots in shared bike programs, so we’re excited to offer free e-bike rides for Charlottesville to celebrate National Bike Month. Equitable access to alternative transportation is even more important during these unprecedented times and we are thrilled to play a role in expanding access.”
“With less traffic on the roads, this is a great time to try biking to reach essential services or practicing routes that you might use when we go back to our regular routines – like biking to school or work,” said Amanda Poncy, Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator.
The city has worked to provide a framework for enhancing the safety and attractiveness of walking and biking through various improvement projects and public programs. Since the update of the Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan in 2015, the City has installed a number of bicycle facilities, such as bike boxes on West Main Street, the 250 Bypass Shared Use Path and the Water Street Shared Use Path Extended, with more on the way.
In addition to expanding the bicycle and pedestrian network, the City encourages walking and bicycling by providing bike racks on all Charlottesville Area Transit buses, free bike racks to city businesses who request them, Safe Routes to School programming, and sponsoring events, such as the annual Tom Tom Festival Public Art Bike Ride.
In addition to the Bike Month events, the city urges people biking, walking and driving to pledge to share the roads (and trails!) safely.
Following are some tips that will help you stay safe while practicing social distancing:
- If you are sick, stay home (except to get medical attention). Do not visit public spaces and avoid public transportation (including bike share and scooters).
- Follow CDC’s guidance on personal hygiene prior to and during outdoor activities.
- Choose locations that are not crowded and always keep 6’ from others (10-20’ is recommended). Wear a cloth face covering when you might come into contact with others, such as on trails.
- Before you head out, check the air in the tires, make sure the brakes work, and that your chain and cranks are in good condition. Or have your bike checked over by your local bike shop.
- Always wear a helmet to protect your head in the event of a crash (if you are 14 and under, it’s the law!).
- Be visible and predictable at all times.
- When riding on streets, ride in the right-most lane that goes in the direction that you are travelling, obey all stop signs, traffic lights and lane markings, and signal when turning.
- When riding on trails, ride on the right and pass on the left. Always give an audible signal when passing.
Even if you don’t ride a bike you can help those who do:
- Limit distractions from smart phones and other mobile devices while driving.
- Always yield to the more vulnerable user—drivers must yield to bicyclists and pedestrians.
- Under Virginia law bicyclists are permitted to use the full lane. If you need to pass a bicyclist while driving, slow down and allow for three feet passing space between you.
For tips and self-guided activities that will help get your bike in working order and raise your biking confidence, visit: www.charlottesville.gov/bikemonth.
Bike & Pedestrian Coordinator
City of Charlottesville
Eastern Regional General Manager