by guest blogger Mike Buckthought
May is Bike to Work Month in Ottawa, and EnviroCentre is collaborating with workplaces across the region to encourage people to cycle to work. EnviroCentre is offering an updated information kit, four kinds of workshops, cycling safety videos, and a chance to win great prizes, simply by pledging to bike.
Last year, 861 people pledged to cycle to work, covering a total distance of 759,040 km. Participants reduced greenhouse gas emissions by an estimated 191 tonnes by biking instead of using motorized modes of transport, like cars and SUVs. The 2012 edition of Bike to Work Month promises to encourage even more people.
Among many new website features, individuals and workplaces can now log daily trips and track new statistics like money saved. A community events calendar available year round, welcomes itself as a social hub for postings from anyone in the cycling community.
EnviroCentre is also encouraging people to develop their confidence with cycling skills. The organization has teamed up with City Wide Sports to offer 60-minute workshops geared for a range of skill levels. Training will be offered at workplaces for a modest fee. Options include lunch time presentations on commuter cycling or bike maintenance, as well as hands-on cycling workshops with practice sessions in parking lots and on city roads.
EnviroCentre is actively collaborating with 65 workplaces representing over 50,000 employees. Posters, slideshows, videos and email campaigns will reach a broad audience — encouraging many people to try commuting by bicycle. For a sample, visit www.biketoworkottawa.com/intersections which features several videos on cycling safety, produced by EnviroCentre.
The videos demonstrate essential habits and skills for navigating intersections, as well as how to interact with the City of Ottawa’s upcoming new road symbols, designed to help drivers and cyclists share the road.
Cycling to work provides many health and environmental benefits. It also increases the productivity of employees, and reduces rates of sickness-related absences. It is a key way to reduce our community’s emissions of global-warming greenhouse gases.
If you live in Kanata, Barrhaven, or Orleans, EnviroCentre brings an inclusive message by offering free presentations open to the public. “Many Ottawa residents live and work outside the Greenbelt, so we’re trying to reach people in their neighbourhoods and help them become commuter cyclists”, says Jessica Wells, EnviroCentre’s Programs Coordinator for Sustainable Transportation. “Cycling is a convenient, fun, healthy, and cost-effective way to travel. Small steps can have a significant impact to reduce transportation-related greenhouse gas emissions, road congestion, plus noise and air pollution. Our goal is to give people an incentive to give cycling a try, and to reward those who already do.”
To participate in Bike to Work Month, visit http://www.biketoworkottawa.com. When you pledge to bike during May, you’ll be eligible to win great prizes.
EnviroCentre is a non-profit organization that works to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Ottawa and Eastern Ontario by delivering energy-efficiency programs and services. Since 2010, Bike to Work Month has been coordinated by EnviroCentre, in collaboration with the City of Ottawa and sponsors.