Glide with a ride in May — Bike Month

Bikes await rental in Bend. Many cities have popular bike share programs. Photo by Dave Palmer

Every May, Oregon Environmental Council celebrates National Bike Month. This year, we wondered how we would celebrate – people are traveling less these days, so there’s less biking to work or school or other activities. What we’ve found, though, is that this global challenge is shining a light on many of the things we value about bikes.

Biking is a great choice for getting around right now. It allows you to keep away from other people, especially in places where there’s plenty of space for walkers and bike riders. It lets you build physical activity into your travel time, which is great at a time when you can’t exercise in places like gyms. Biking is a really cheap way to get around, and the money you spend on bike parts and repair stays in your local community. It also feels really good to know that your travel is not adding more air pollution to your community. We know that air pollution not only contributes to climate change and directly makes people sick, but also makes people more vulnerable to diseases like covid-19.

Even if you haven’t ridden a bike in a while, this is a good time to give it a try. Car traffic levels are down, which might make biking in your community feel safer and more comfortable than usual. It’s a good time to

A father in the Bend area enjoys the outdoors with his children. Photo by Dave Palmer

borrow a bike or dust off the bike you’ve had in the garage for years, and get out on the road.

Biking is always a great way to travel, and the current pandemic situation allows us to consider how we can make it work better for more people and our communities. Cities around the world are reallocating street space to biking (and walking), to allow people to get around without dangerous crowding. As many people shift to biking for exercise and transportation, we can think about how to make it safer and more convenient for everyone. Looking forward, we can not only enjoy more biking ourselves, we can also ask our policymakers to make our streets work better for all of us.

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