3 Reasons We Need Bike to Work Day

Bike to Work Day has been around since 1956, held in May as a way of celebrating National Bike Month. In 2015, more than 17,000 people participated in the metropolitan DC region alone!

People participate in Philadelphia's 2013 Bike to Work Day
People participate in Philadelphia’s Bike to Work Day in 2013. (Photo courtesy of Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia)

As an office where precisely none of our employees drive alone to work, we very much support initiatives like these to get people out of their cars and into more sustainable modes of transportation. Here are three reasons why you should, too:

1. Bike to Work Day makes bicycling seem easy.

We’ve talked about this before — part of the reason people stick with the same commuting method every day is because they perceive change to be more difficult than it actually is. Having an event like this makes it easy to try something new by offering lessons, convoys led by experienced cyclists, and the always-alluring free t-shirts. Knowing how easy it is makes you that much more likely to try again in the future.

2. Many current bicycle commuters got their start on Bike to Work Day.

According to Commuter Connections, about 10 percent of first-time riders continue to bike to work at least one day a week. In Denver, one of every 28 adults participated in 2010’s Bike to Work Day. According to the League of American Bicyclists, the number of bike commuters grew by 62 percent from 2000 to 2013. Of course, not all of those were from Bike to Work Day, but the increasing popularity is due in no small part to initiatives like this to spread the word.

3. It’s really, really great for the environment.

Bear with us as we do some quick math. In 2015, more than 17,000 people participated in Bike to Work Day in the DC metro area. According to the National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board, the average bicycle commute length in 2012 was 3.9 miles — let’s call it an even 4, just to make it easier.

Using Capital Bikeshare’s carbon estimate, this means a total average savings of just more than 100,000 lbs of carbon dioxide reduced. That’s equivalent to 4.8 homes’ worth of energy for an entire year. In one day.

A group of people bikes on Bryant Ave in Minneapolis
A group of people bikes (to work?) on Bryant Ave in Minneapolis. (Photo courtesy Eric James)

Will you be trying a bicycle commute for Bike to Work Day this year? We want to hear how it went! Bonus points if you use a TransitScreen to pick a Capital Bikeshare station — tweet us @TransitScreen and let us know!