San José, California – San José ranks first in the nation for providing bicycle education to children, according to a recent survey of the 50 largest U.S.cities. The Alliance for Biking and Walking reported in their “Bicycling & Walking in the U.S. – 2010 Benchmarking Report” that one in eight San José youth receive bike safety education.
The City’s Street Smarts School Safety Education Program, run by San José’s Transportation Department, reaches more than 23,000 elementary and middle school students annually with bicycle and pedestrian safety assemblies, helmet events and bike “roadeos.”
“San José is striving to become a world-class bicycling community where bicycling is safe, convenient and commonplace, and the more we can encourage people to use their bikes for transportation, the more we can reduce greenhouse gas emissions and congestion,” explained Hans Larsen, the City’s Transportation Director. “Teaching kids bike safety and the proper way to wear a helmet builds a foundation of safety for our community as we head in this direction,” stated Larsen.
Bicycling Magazine, in its May, 2008 issue, ranked San José one of the three most-improved cities for bicycling. San José’s bicycling rate tripled in the last two years, from 0.4% of commute trips in 2006, to 1.2% in 2008, according to the U.S. Census American Community Survey. This survey also found that San José has the second highest bicycling rate among the ten largest U.S. cities. In a survey of the 50 largest cities, San José ranks in the top 10 nationally for bicycle advocacy.
“San José is making great strides to become one of the best bicycling cities in the country,” according to Corinne Winter, Executive Director of Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition. “A great example: San José is the first city to receive a platinum-level Bicycle Friendly Workplace award from the Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition,” stated Winter.
Future plans to support bicycling in San José include completing 20 bikeway projects and installing 300 bike racks in 2010, and San José, together with the Valley Transportation Agency (VTA), will launch the Bay Area’s first public Bike Share System, also in 2010. This year, a pilot public bike share program will allow bikes to be checked out at San José Diridon Transit Station and downtown locations.
“I’ve seen the City make great progress in creating a bike-friendly community. San José’s new Bike Plan 2020 sets some great goals, including completion of a 500-mile bikeway network,” stated Jim Bell, Chair of San José’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee. “Every year I've personally seen the bike network expanding - new trails, roadway bike lanes & signage - making it safer and more convenient for myself, my family and visitors to get to around by bike.”
The recently adopted Bike Plan sets goals to: Complete a 500-mile bikeway network; add 5,000 bike parking spaces; reduce the bike collision rate by 50 percent; achieve a mode shift such that 5 percent of all trips are by bike; and achieve a designation from the League of American Bicyclists as a gold-level Bike Friendly Community (San José is currently a bronze-level Bike Friendly Community).
Larsen encourages residents to do something good for their heart this coming Valentine’s Day by riding their bikes, “Take your kids, take your sweetheart, bring the whole family, or enjoy a ride in solitude along San José’s 50 miles of trails and over 200 miles of on-street bikeways. Bicycling just 30 minutes at an easy pace burns 300 calories and is an easy and fun way to stay healthy. And for those looking to reduce their carbon footprint, keep in mind that 40 percent of errands are generally within two miles of home – a perfect distance for bicycling.”
For information about how kids and adults can be bike smart, visit the City of San José Street Smarts Program website at: www.GetStreetSmarts.org.
Upcoming Bicycling Events to be held in San José
- Third Annual San Jose Cycling Classic, a week of bicycling events and activities that will include rides, races, and Bike to Work Day activities from May 14-20, 2010.
- 2010 Amgen Tour of California professional bike race, the city’s fifth consecutive year to host a stage, which will be held on May 19, 2010.
- 2010 Lance Armstrong Foundation LiveStrong Challenge, San José’s third consecutive year to host the event, which will be held on July 10-11, 2010.