According to the Network of Employers for Traffic Safety, it is estimated that 41 percent of all work commutes are shorter than 5 miles. Yet, fewer than 1 percent of adult Americans commute to work by bicycle.
Commuters are encouraged to ditch their cars and set their bicycle wheels in motion beginning today, Monday, June 11, through Friday, June 15, for Bike to Work Week.
“If you can’t bike to work from Elmhurst, residents who work in Chicago can bike to the Metra Station,” says Bob Hoel, chairman of the Elmhurst Bike Task Force and advocacy chairman of the Elmhurst Bike Club. “The Metra Station houses bike racks with 150 parking spaces."
An additional 10 spaces in bike lockers are rented out for $100 a year, he said. They provide a secure lock and privacy, since the bikes are not visible to anyone passing by. Two or three lockers still are available to rent, Hoel said.
On Tuesday, June 12, and Friday, June 15, DuPage County, the Elmhurst Bike Club, the Elmhurst Bike Club Task Force and the Active Transportation Alliance will host an information table at the . Coffee, courtesy of in Elmhurst, will be provided to anyone who commutes to the station by bike. Active Transportation Alliance, formerly the Chicagoland Bike Federation, is the largest bike advocacy group in the U.S., with 6,000 members.
On Thursday, June 14, for the second year in a row, DuPage County Board Chairman Dan Cronin, accompanied by Elmhurst aldermen and residents, will bike to work from the Spring Road gazebo on the Illinois Prairie Path to the DuPage County building in Wheaton. The ride will leave the gazebo at 7 a.m.
In addition to Elmhurst’s push to get more residents riding, Chicago has a week activities plannedf to celebrate the city’s commitment to being the best big city for bicycling. Activities include free outdoor spin classes in Millennium Park; a Tuesday, June 12, screening of Pee Wee’s Big Adventures on Millennium Park Great Lawn; and a Friday, June 15, Bike to Work Rally in Daley Plaza.
Forty percent of all car trips are under 2 miles in distance. Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune suggests that if every American driver made just one of those trips each week on a bicycle instead of a car, nearly 2 billion gallons of gas would be saved each year.
Following Bike to Work Week, Hoel says the Bike Task Force will focus on getting the city to adopt a long-term bike plan and create convenient bike parking in City Centre and the Spring Road business district.
The Bike Task Force also works with Elmhurst District 205’s Safe Routes To Schools. Hoel wrote a grant application and received $80,000 across two projects to be applied to elementary and middle schools. Funds will be used for education and motivation, the purchase of new bike racks, helmets, bike rodeos, and a portable speed trailer which is shared amongst schools to monitor speed zones.
“Domestic and international studies show that 15 to 20 minutes of exercise before school helps students perform better academically,” says Hoel.
The Bike Task Force will host an information booth at the Elmhurst Farmers Market on the third Wednesday of each month. Visitors who bike to the Farmers Market will receive a coupon to Elijah’s Coffee and Tea.
For more information on Bike to Work Week or the Elmhurst Bike Task Force, contact Bob Hoel at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Writer Barbara Lonergan contributes a regular feature for the Elmhurst Cool Cities Coalition titled, We Caught You Doing Something Cool. If you spot someone around town doing something cool to impact the environment, contact Elmhurst Cool Cities at email@example.com. Elmhurst Cool Cities Coalition is a volunteer coalition of local institutions, organizations, business leaders and citizens working to achieve the goals of the Sierra Club Cool Cities campaign and the U.S. Mayors’ Climate Protection Agreement.