Coalition, students tout bike benefits
Bicyclists gather on quad as part of Earth Day events
November 2, 2007 12:27 PM
Yuki Terao, 21, looked down at his shiny red fixed gear bicycle and smiled. Dozens of other bicyclists milled around the SF State quad, gobbling free food and chatting about everything bike-related.
“I was tired of waiting a long time for public transportation like Muni,” said Terao, a sophomore criminal justice major at SF State. “So, I just got a bicycle.”
Now, a year after Terao got his bike, he rides it to school everyday.
Terao was one of hundreds of students who celebrated SF State’s first Bring Your Bike to School Day on Oct. 25.
The event, sponsored by the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition (SFBC), offered free bike lights, free food and free parking on the quad lawn to anyone who rode their bike to school.
“I haven’t really ridden at night very much,” said 21-year-old Liberal Studies major Alex Araiza, as a SFBC bike tech attached lights to her purple bike. “Now, I feel much safer.”
“Cycling is a remarkable way for people to make an instant impact on the world and their own lives,” said Adam Greenfield, a member of the SFBC and a student at SF State. “There are so many reasons why bicycling is a central part of this special week, it’s easy, it’s fun.”
At the event the SFBC asked cyclists to sign a petition for bicycle routes through campus and fill out a survey about where SF State should place 100 new bike racks paid for by a pending grant.
“We need [bike] parking where it’s needed,” said Adam Thornley, program director for SFBC, noting the bikes illegally locked near the Student Center. “That’s something the SFBC and the administration are working on.”
Over the last decade bicycle use in San Francisco has increased tremendously, said Thornley.
He sites the coalition’s growth from 600 members in 1992 to over 7,500 members today as an example. No exact number of bicyclists in San Francisco is available.
“Depending on where you’re coming from,” Thornley said, “there isn’t really a good way to approach the campus.”
The SFBC also lobbies for citywide bicycle-related improvements. In August, Mayor Gavin Newsom, in collaboration with the SFBC, set 10 bike milestones.
His milestones, to be completed by 2010, included the striping of 20 new bike lanes, the installation of 300 bike racks, and the reduction of bicycle collision injuries by 50 percent.
“Since they installed the bike lanes on Valencia, bike traffic has doubled,” said 30-year-old Tabitha Solomon, a senior industrial design major at SF State.
Bring Your Bike to School Day occurred at a seemingly awkward time for bicyclists, the brink of the rainy season.
According to the National Weather Service, between the months of November and March, San Francisco receives 80 percent of their 21 inches of average annual rainfall.
“I always hope it doesn’t rain when I ride to school,” Spoeck, an interior design major said. “But if it does, then I have a set of plastic clothes.”
The SFBC has information on their Web site precautions cyclists should take when riding in the rain.
“Sometimes it’s really fun to ride in the rain, if you plan on getting wet that day,” said Towle, an international relations major.
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