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Ohio Communities Becoming More Bike Friendly

There are 13 Bike Friendly communities in Ohio. (Pixabay)
There are 13 Bike Friendly communities in Ohio. (Pixabay)
May 17, 2016

COLUMBUS, Ohio - Ohioans are encouraged to ditch their car this week and learn how to make bicycling part of their daily lives. It's Bike to Work Week, and Friday is Bike to Work Day, which help to build awareness about the benefits of bicycling for health and the environment.

Ohio is 16th nationally on the League of American Bicyclists' Bike Friendly state rankings, with 13 Bike Friendly communities.

Rob Thompson, communications and membership manager for Bike Cleveland, says Ohio cities are working on policies that promote active transportation, which can attract new residents.

"Columbus is doing quite of a good job, Cincinnati has been putting in infrastructure and building up trails as well, Cleveland has a bike plan to add 70 miles of bike lanes and they're well on their way to achieving that goal," says Thompson. "So, it is improving; there's certainly a lot more work to do."

Thompson notes that about 60 percent of people say they want to ride their bikes more often, but are not comfortable on the roadways.

"Bike to Work Day and Bike Week and events of that kind are a great way to get people riding as a group collectively," he says. "Teaching beginners how to get out there and do it, because once they realize that it's as easy as it actually is they're much more likely to do it themselves."

He adds besides the health and environmental benefits, bicycling is also a good way to connect with others and build community.

"I'm obviously not a native to the state of Ohio, and I've been fortunate enough to meet hundreds of great people and build a great network of friends all because I've decided to get on a bike and meet people that ride," says Thompson.

Thompson says bicycling is an easy, cost-effective way to get to work for many Ohioans, as about 40 percent of all trips made in the U.S. are less than two miles.

It's estimated the number of bicycle commuters in the in the country grew by over 60 percent between 2000 and 2013.

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - OH