News Release

Washington's Biggest Bike to Work Day Ever

May 19, 2006

(Bicyclists leaving Bethesda pit stop)

(Montgomery County Council Members Tom Perez, Nancy Floreen and Howard Denis at Bethesda pit stop)

(Arlington Board Member and COG Chair Jay Fisette at Freedom Plaza pit stop)

Today, Washington, DC area bicyclists turned out in record numbers at 21 different sites across the region to celebrate Bike to Work Day and promote bicycle commuting, an environmentally-friendly, healthy and inexpensive alternative that reduces road congestion.

Bike to Work Day, organized by Commuter Connections, the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG) and the Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA), is held every spring to increase awareness of bicycling to work in the National Capital Region.

“COG is committed to reducing traffic congestion and increasing air quality in the Washington DC region and bicycle commuting plays a key role in helping us reach that goal,” said Jay Fisette, COG Board Chair and Arlington County Board Member to bicyclists at the Freedom Plaza rally.

Held during National Bike to Work Week, each of the area “pit stops” featured food, giveaway items, entertainment, speakers and chances to win bicycles and other prizes. Twenty-one bicycle commuter convoys led by experienced bicyclists converged on the main gathering point, Freedom Plaza in downtown Washington D.C., from routes throughout the area.

“Biking to work is great for the environment and individual fitness, and with gas prices around $3 per gallon, it is also a smart way to reduce commuting expenses. This event is a great opportunity for commuters to give bicycling to work a try," said Michael Knapp, Montgomery County Council Member and Chair of COG's National Capital Area Transportation Planning Board.

“Bike commuting is really taking off in the DC area," said WABA's Executive Director Eric Gilliland. “The sheer number of cyclists that participated in today’s event is a testament to all those who use bicycle commuting as a way to make a positive contribution to personal and environmental health.”

In addition to encouraging bicycle commuting, the event also showcased other alternative commute programs such as the Guaranteed Ride Home Program. GRH, a free service of Commuter Connections, provides commuters who vanpool, carpool, bicycle, walk, or take transit at least twice a week, with up to four emergency rides home from work per year, when they encounter an unexpected personal emergency or unscheduled overtime.

Through Commuter Connections, local employers are encouraged to promote cycling to work by providing employees with bicycle parking, showers and changing facilities, flexible work schedules, the option of cashing out their parking benefit to purchase bicycles, and the Guaranteed Ride Home program.

A number of elected officials and other speakers joined bicyclists at the area celebrations including:

DC Freedom Plaza
U.S. Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR), Senate sponsor of the Bicycle Commuter Act
Jay Fisette, COG Board Chair and Arlington County Board Member
Linda Cropp, DC Council Member
Marie Johns, DC Mayoral Candidate
Melissa Johnson, President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports
Dan Tangherlini , Acting Director WMATA
Michelle Pourciau, Acting Director DDOT
Angie O'Grady VP & COO,Preferred Offices

Nancy Floreen, Montgomery County Council Member
Tom Perez, Montgomery County Council Member
Howard Denis, Montgomery County Council Member
Michael Jackson, MDOT, Dir. of Bicycle & Pedestrian Access
Michael Hoyt, Deputy Director, Montgomery County Department of Public Works and Transportation
Brian Frosh, Maryland State Senator (District 16)

College Park
Stephen A. Brayman, Mayor, City of College Park
John D. Porcari, Vice President for Administrative Affairs, University of Maryland
College Park

Marcia Hall, Alderman, City of Frederick
Alan Imhoff, Alderman, City of Frederick

North Bethesda
Nancy Floreen, Montgomery County Council Member

Silver Spring
George Leventhal, Montgomery County Council President

Jay Fisette, COG Board Chair and Arlington County Board Member

Fairfax City
Patrice Winters, Fairfax City Council Member

Cathleen Hudgins, Fairfax County Supervisor
Kenneth Plum, Virginia Delegate (District 36)

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