Bike, Walk & Wheel Week steers people toward cleaner transportation
COLUMBIA – Families took a bike ride around Stephens Lake Park Sunday in Columbia for Bike, Walk & Wheel Week's Mother’s Day event.
Bike, Walk & Wheel Week is hosted by PedNet Coalition, an organization that advocates for active transportation and healthy lifestyles through community outreach and education.
One mum said the event is a good way to bring families together while promoting active lifestyle.
"I think what this group is doing is amazing," Melissa Boldan said. "It really means a lot to us to have an avenue to be able to do that, it sets the time and place where you're going to go and there's other like minded families so it's a really good time."
The 18th Bike, Walk & Wheel Week runs from May 11-19. It holds a new event every day promoting biking, walking or using public transit.
The purpose of the week is to introduce people to the idea of regularly using more eco-friendly modes of transportation.
“We can have events that really lower the barrier to entry for a lot of people that may be thinking about trying to use one of these modes of transportation,” PedNet Chief Strategy Officer Lawrence Simonson said. “We lower the barrier for them by having an event that’s fun and engaging.”
Organizers also hope the week connects already biking and walking focused residents with one another and encourage active lifestyles.
"This is one of the most important event we do during Bike, Walk & Wheel Week because it really highlights the ability to be active with your family," Heather Marriott said. "I just really think being able to live an active lifestyle starts young and gets a lot easier if you've done it your entire life."
George Smith and Marjorie Sable are the honorees this year, since the married couple uses their bikes and walk a lot for transportation. Smith will speak at several of this week’s events.
Members of the Mayor's Task Force on Climate Action and Adaptation Planning will also be available for questions, since biking and walking help the city meet its climate action plan.
“You design a transportation system. You design a community that is more walkable and bikeable and heavily focused on public transit. That entire community benefits,” Simonson said. “No matter what aspect of that community, that can definitely be part of the solution."
Fewer cars and more bikes on the roads can lessen infrastructure wear and tear. It also limits transportation pollution.
Simonson also said the benefits are personally impactful. Bikes cost less than motor transportation, get residents out and about and provide a source of daily exercise.
Simonson bikes his kids to school then bikes to work. He said he almost always uses his bike to get around town.
“I find it to be a much more engaging experience taking my kids to school because the transportation is part of the experience,” he said.
This is the first year Bike, Walk & Wheel Week will host an electric bike ride. Residents must provide their own electric bikes to participate.
A full list of events can be found on PedNet’s website.