As gasoline prices edge toward $4 a gallon, Intercity Transit officials are gearing up for a busy 24th annual Bicycle Commuter Contest in May.
The monthlong contest drew 1,300 participants last year. They logged 80,000 miles on 11,765 commute trips by bicycle and saved about 3,674 gallons of gasoline by leaving their cars at home, organizers say.
The organizers expect a good turnout again this year, especially with the recent and dramatic bump in gasoline prices, Intercity Transit’s Duncan Green said.
Market research about commuters by Intercity Transit in 2009 found that 94 percent of those surveyed said they would make transportation changes if gas prices climbed to $4 a gallon, said Meg Kester, a spokeswoman for Intercity Transit.
Physical fitness, reducing dependence on foreign oil, curbing air pollution from vehicles and building more sustainable communities are other reasons participants give for joining the commute contest.
“Riding a bicycle is a simple way to address all these issues with one single action,” said Thurston County Commissioner Sandra Romero, who also chairs the Intercity Transit Authority.
New and veteran bicyclists who sign up for the contest are eligible for prizes and friendly competition. Organizers encourage workplace teams to form and compete for prizes. The entry deadline for all participants is May 6.
Participants register in April, ride their bicycles as much or as little as they want in May, and record their miles traveled to and from work, errands and school. Recreational bicycling is not included in the contest.
Cyclists also submit feedback to event organizers regarding cycling conditions on roads, bike lanes and bike paths. Intercity Transit compiles the information and reports it to area jurisdictions for use in making decisions about future bicycling infrastructure.
Intercity Transit also offers bike and bus options so buses can complement bicycling when weather, distance or schedules warrant. Bike-and-ride services are available on all IT bus routes, including express service between Olympia and Tacoma. All IT buses except the Dash shuttle in Olympia are equipped with bike racks.
John Dodge: 360-754-5444 firstname.lastname@example.org