Bike to Work Day taking place around Bay Area
SAN FRANCISCO -- Hundreds of environment-loving Bay Area residents will put down their car keys, pick up a helmet, and ride bicycles to their jobs for Bike to Work Day today.
The day, which began in Oakland in 1994, has inspired hundreds of people to choose cycling as their preferred mode of transportation instead of cars, according to the San Francisco and East Bay bicycle coalitions.
"We've seen a 250 percent increase in the number of participants since 2008," East Bay Bicycle Coalition Program Director Dave Campbell said.
The Oakland-based coalition saw its highest number of Bike to Work Day participants in the history of the event cycling through one spot last year. More than 700 participants stopped at Sproul Plaza during their morning commute, Campbell said.
"It's the first time we've seen that many cyclists in one place for Bike to Work Day," he said.
Participants have the opportunity to stop at one of many "energizer stations," which are tables with refreshments and snacks set up throughout Bay Area cities to honor people who bike to work.
Most of the stations will operate between 7 a.m. to 9 a.m., but some will be open throughout the afternoon and into evening commutes home, Campbell said.
Twenty-five stations will be positioned in many San Francisco neighborhoods, including the Sunset, Richmond, and Mission districts, and the South of Market neighborhood, according to the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition.
"Biking to work is great for promoting a safe and more family-friendly city," said Leah Shahum, executive director of San Francisco Bicycle Coalition.
More than 350 people plan to volunteer at the San Francisco energizer stations, she said.
A map of the stations for San Francisco can be found at www.sfbike.org/btwd2011.
Shahum said according to estimates by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, biking has increased by about 58 percent between 2006 and 2010.
"On some of the main streets like Market and Valencia streets, there are really significant numbers of people biking," she said.
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