Celebrate “Bike To Work Day” In PA

May is a popular month for many reasons. It’s not only the last full month of spring, it’s also host to special occasions (Mother’s Day) and holidays (Memorial Day). It’s also the time we observe National Bike Month, an annual celebration of the bicycle’s many benefits that doubles as an opportunity to encourage everyone to bike more often. 

Composed of multiple bicycle-related events, National Bike Month allows individuals and groups to experience the benefits of biking first-hand in an effort to promote activity, wellness, safety and community in our neighborhoods. One of these events is one you may not be familiar with: National Bike to Work Day. 

In the following article, we’ll tell you about National Bike to Work Day, explain some of the great benefits of biking to work, discuss how to share the road with cyclists, and tell you about some of the great ways you can encourage your community to participate in this special day! 

What is National Bike to Work Day? 

Established in 1955 by the League of American Bicyclists, National Bike to Work Day is observed on the third Friday of May to promote cycling to work as a safe and healthy alternative for commuting to workplaces. It accomplishes these goals by highlighting the many benefits of cycling and by raising awareness of the need for increased road safety for commuting cyclists. 

Thanks to this annual event, many individuals have discovered the benefits of biking to work and are now enjoying this activity every day. In addition, drivers have learned how they can safely share the road with commuting cyclists. 

What are the Benefits of Biking to Work?

To promote biking to work as an alternative to driving, Bike to Work Day focuses public attention on the many benefits of this worthwhile option.

Biking to work 

  • Helps individuals and families reduce their expenses due to rising gas prices and auto repair disruptions and price increases resulting from supply chain shortages. 
  • Reduces carbon footprints by limiting carbon emissions from vehicles.
  • Prolongs the lifespan of vehicles by reducing mileage and everyday wear-and-tear. 
  • Promotes a healthy lifestyle by keeping commuters active and introducing a regular exercise routine to their day. This benefit is so significant that the American Medical Association (AMA) chose to endorse Bike to Work Day. 

Highlighting the benefits of biking to work is just part of the purpose of this annual event. The other goal of Bike to Work Month is to educate everyone about the importance of road safety for bicyclists and motorists. 

How to Stay Safe When Biking to Work

As more and more professionals choose to bike to work and enjoy its benefits, this influx of bicyclists has been cause for concern. Since many residential streets and major roadways were designed for automotive travel, cyclists and drivers may be at risk of accident or injury if the proper measures to share the road are not observed by all parties. 

To raise awareness of these issues, National Bike to Work Day goes to great lengths to educate communities across the country about safely sharing the road. 

First and foremost, all cyclists and motorists should be familiar with traffic laws and follow them at all times. Avoidable accidents have occurred because cyclists believe that certain rules (such as stop signs and traffic patterns) only apply to drivers. Other times, drivers try to quickly pass cyclists only to cause the cyclist to lose control of their bike or run off the side of the road. These scenarios can be avoided if all commuters understand and obey the rules of the road. 

Communities can help protect cyclists and drivers by adding bike lanes to their streets and roadways. Incorporating these dedicated spaces in road designs increase cyclist safety and reduce the chances of them being run off of the road and/or veering into oncoming traffic.  

As more and more individuals choose to bike to work, rules, regulations and alterations will evolve in our communities. National Bike to Work Day events will help inform communities of these updates and encourage everyone to stay informed of ongoing changes all year long. 

How to Involve Others in National Bike to Work Day

While Bike to Work Day sounds great to you, others in your workplace or community may be skeptical. To help encourage participation in your community, here are some fun suggestions to generate greater interest:

  • Highlight the Benefits – Using the list above, discuss the financial and health benefits of biking to work. 
  • Highlight the Convenience – Is parking limited at your workplace? Is a quick car commute impossible due to daily traffic jams? Let your coworkers know that they can avoid these inconveniences by biking to work.
  • Incentivize Your Employees – If you’re a business owner, you can encourage employees to participate in Bike to Work Day by offering an incentive. Offer them a free lunch. Present them with a gift card to a local cycle shop. Or, allow them to leave a little early that Friday to enjoy a scenic commute – and avoid traffic! 

Are you ready to celebrate Bike to Work Day? We are too! Actually, we celebrate bicycling every day at our local PA parks! 

If your commute is too far for a bike ride or this event has made you want to cycle more, you can always enjoy the many bike trails found in your local park. To find the bike trail that’s closest to your community, simply use our helpful Explore PA Local Parks tool

And if you want to stay informed about great community events like National Bike to Work Day, subscribe to the Good For PA newsletter!

Mountain Biking Etiquette at PA Parks

When the first signs of spring arrive, mountain biking enthusiasts get extra excited. The days are now longer, the weather is much warmer and the bike trails are free of snow and ice. 

If you’re new to mountain biking or have never ridden the trails of your local park, now is the perfect opportunity to acquaint yourself with the proper etiquette. 

Below, you’ll learn all of the various best mountain biking practices that will ensure a fun and safe time every time you and area enthusiasts ride the trails! 

Obey All Bike Trail Signage 

The first rule of being a considerate mountain biker is to abide by the signs posted along the designated trails. Sometimes trails may be directional, so it’s important for you to follow the defined course to ensure your safety and that of others. Like any road, bike trails are subject to announced and unannounced closures. On certain days, the trail may be closed for routine maintenance (such as patch repairs, debris clearing). Other times, the trail may be closed for more serious matters (flooding, fire). If you see a “Bike Trail Closed” sign, please do not ignore it.  

To avoid being disappointed by trail closures, we recommend that you visit the park’s website or social media page to check for any news or updates before your visit. Or you can always call your local parks and recreation department for the latest information. 

Only Ride Designated Trails

Many parks have dedicated bike trails. Others may not. If you visit a park and it doesn’t have a clearly marked bike trail, it’s best to speak with a park ranger/representative or land manager before proceeding. It would be poor form (not to mention dangerous) to ride your mountain bike on a walking trail. Even worse, you could be trespassing on private property or damaging a protected area of the park. 

One of the best ways to find the best designated mountain bike trails/areas is to use Good For PA’s local park locator. That’s where you can find more information about local parks near you and determine which ones are best suited for your bike riding needs. 

Respect Your Local Park

Perhaps the most important rule of mountain biking in your local parks is to leave no trace. For most visitors, leaving no trace equates to avoiding litter. When it comes to mountain bikers, leaving no trace is a bit more involved. Mountain bikers should never alter or change the trails in any way. That means the bikers are prohibited from cutting branches or damaging trees, creating shortcuts through undesignated areas, and to avoid deliberately sliding or intentionally splatter mud up to minimize damaging trails. 

Protect Wildlife 

While visitors are drawn to local parks for a variety of reasons, one of the biggest is to see local wildlife in their natural habitats. As the park is their home it’s important for mountain bike fans to avoid any intentional damage or minimize accidental damage along the trail. Riding the trails in more remote areas also means being extra cautious of our animal friends. Riders do not want to accidentally scare or injure an animal that may be crossing the trail. 

Do Not Block the Trail 

Sometimes bikers need to take a break. Other times that may experience unexpected bike trouble (flat tire, faulty gear). If a biker needs to take a break or stop for any reason, it’s imperative that they move to the side of the trail instead of remaining in the middle of the trail. This not only helps keep trail traffic flowing, it also minimizes the risk of bike accidents. 

When you practice proper mountain bike etiquette, you’ll ensure that you and all park visitors have a fun and safe experience. Plus, you’ll help correctly maintain the trails so they do not have to be frequently closed for repair. 

If you’re interested in learning more about making the most of your local parks, please sign up for the Good For PA newsletter! We’re always sharing helpful tips and information so you can enjoy local PA parks to their fullest!