May is National Bike Month – Use Cross County Connection Resources to Safely Get out and Ride!
May is National Bike Month! National Bike Month is a chance to showcase the benefits of cycling and encourage people to get out and ride. Even with current Stay-at-Home order, bicycling is great way to responsibly get out of the house, exercise and have some fun at a safe distance.
Cross County Connection wants you to take a ride this month and let us know about it! Let’s get on our bikes and show that we can still have fun! Even if you have not ridden in a while, dust off that bike and recapture that joy you had riding a bike as a kid. Below are some ways you can enjoy cycling and participate in National Bike Month with Cross County Connection:
- Go for a ride, take a picture, and share it with Cross County Connection on social media using the hashtags #BikeMonth and #SouthJerseyBikes.
- Post photos of you and your family biking
- Share your reasons to ride. It can be anything. Be clever. Be funny. Or keep it simple.
- Support local businesses by biking to your favorite restaurant, coffee shop or store to get take-out or curbside pickup.
- If you haven’t in a while, take your bike out for a checkup! Use Cross County Connection’s resource on getting your bike back in shape.
- If you think your bike needs repairs, many bike shops are open for repairs and have systems in place to safely get your bike back into tip-top shape with no contact. Check out Cross County Connection’s South Jersey Bike Shop Guide to see who is open near you.
- Don’t forget to wear a helmet! Now is not the time to visit the ER.
- Want to add a bit of competition? Join the National Bike Challenge. Log your miles and see how others are doing across the state and country.
– I ride for fun
– I ride for clean air
– I ride for my health
– I ride to show off my awesome homemade facemask
Cross County Connection has several resources that can help both new and established cyclists have a safe and enjoyable ride:
South Jersey Interactive Transportation Map
Cross County connection provides an online interactive map that can help you find existing bikeways where you can go and ride. Use this helpful tool to find a trail or bike lane near you! The interactive map can be found here.
Cross County Connection Bike Booklet
This booklet includes information on how to make sure your bike is in working condition and how to have a successful bike commute or ride. The bike booklet can be found here.
Bicycle Crash Prevention
Cross County Connection has a resource that shows types of bicycle crashes and ways to prevent them. This handout can help you stay safe as you ride this month! The bicycle crash prevention handout can be found here.
Why Choose a Bike or Walk Commute?
Embracing biking and walking as part of your everyday routine, whether it be during your commute, to run errands, or just for fun, benefits you and your surrounding community in a number of ways.
Benefits of Biking – It’s the healthy, no-pollute-commute.
Bicycling is a low-cost and healthy way to go shopping, commute to work, connect to a bus or train and reach many other daily destinations. Consider riding a bike instead of getting in your car, especially for short trips. You will not only help your health and the environment, you will probably enjoy the ride.
The New Jersey Department of Transportation supports the use of the bicycle as a means of personal transportation and recreation.
RideScore: DVRPC’s new online transit tool just launched! DVRPC is pleased to announce the launch of Greater Philadelphia’s new online RideScore tool that will allow transit agencies, trail advocacy groups, and municipalities to analyze stations for bicycle facility investments by measuring the strength and potential of a given station’s bicycle and transit context.
So you agree that biking is fun, and it would be great to get to do it more often. But, maybe you’re not sure how you can work more bicycling into your routine? Well, here is a basic 5 step strategy that will get your cruising in no time:
Step 1 – Get a bike
You don’t need to spend thousands of dollars on the latest carbon fiber racing bike. Any bike that has two wheels, a seat, some handlebars, and brakes will do. No matter what kind of bike you have, make sure it is in proper working order. You can do this yourself using the ABC QUICK CHECK basic bike safety check , or take the bike to a trained mechanic just to be safe. If you are going to riding at night, make sure you have a white light for the front of the bike and a red light for the back. And finally, get yourself a helmet.
Step 2 – Start Small
Maybe it’s been awhile since you last rode a bike? Take a short ten minute ride somewhere you feel safe and all the memories will come flooding back. Start riding more and more and you will have your skill back in no time. You can start on a calm residential street or perhaps you want to try one of South Jersey’s many trails? Check our interactive transportation map, or our app at www.bikeroutelocator.com, to find you nearest trail.
Step 3 – Think about short car trips you can replace with a bicycle
Did you know that 40% of the trips taken in the United States are less than three miles? That is such a short and easy bike ride no matter how experienced or physically fit you are! Think about some of these short trips you make during the week. Why not replace some of these trips you make in your car with the bicycle? You may find it’s easier than expected, and it’s guaranteed to be fun and better for your health.
Step 4 – Plan your route
Once you’ve identified some short trips you want to try on a bike, plan your route. There are a multitude of resources available to help you determine how you can safely get between Point A and Point B on your bike. Google Maps has features that will determine a route for you. Cross County Connection also offers detailed bikeway mapping through our Interactive Transportation Map and our app www.bikerouteocator.com.
Step 5 – Give the Bicycle Commute a Go!
Perhaps you’ve gotten started by replacing so of your short trips to the bank or the store and you think you want to make bicycling a more regular part of your life? Well then why not give try biking to work a try? Kill two birds with one stone – get a workout in while commuting to work. For more on bicycle commuting check out Bicycle Commuting 101. For more on bicycle safety and riding tips check out Basic Safety and Riding Tips.
Links to Regional Bike Maps
CCCTMA Interactive Map Cross County Connection offers an Interactive Map showing bike paths, bike lanes, bikeway tours, panorama views of bike routes and a variety of other transportation options in South Jersey. Users can zoom in, turn separate ‘layers’ on and off and see where they can connect with transit on their ride.
Regional Bicycle Map Download Trail List, Map & Links
Evesham Bicycle Map Download Brochure
Voorhees Bicycle Map Download Brochure
NJDOT Bicycle Tours The New Jersey Department of Transportation publishes twenty bike tour guides, seven of which are located in South Jersey. http://www.state.nj.us/transportation/commuter/bike/tours.shtm
Greater Philadelphia Regional Bike Map The Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia has produced interactive and print maps of bike lanes, trails and other information about bicycling in the Greater Philadelphia Area – including parts of Burlington, Camden, Gloucester and Mercer Counties. CCCTMA assumes no liability for its contents. Print: http://www.bicyclecoalition.org/resources/maps Interactive: http://phillymap.com/interactive-map/
NJBikeMap.com This web resource provides a fairly comprehensive map of roads and bike paths for cyclists in New Jersey. CCCTMA assumes no liability for its contents. http://njbikemap.com/
Technical Bicycle Publications
Cross County Connection annually conducts an inventory of existing and proposed bikeways in its seven county southern New Jersey service area. This inventory is conducted at the municipal level and is continuously updated. The purpose of the inventories is to ultimately create a region-wide network of bikeways. The inventory reports include an analysis of the bikeways’ attributes and a ranking and prioritization analysis. It is hoped that municipalities and counties can use this information when seeking grant funding to construct bikeways. To view or download a bikeway report by county, click on the links below. For more information on bikeways in southern New Jersey, contact Cross County Connection’s Land Use and Transportation Specialist at 856-596-8228.
UPADATE: NJ Transit Designates Selected ‘Bike-Friendly’ Trains On Weekends NJ TRANSIT has announced a revised Bike Aboard program for NJ TRANSIT trains. Program revisions include designation of “bike-friendly” trains on all weekend Atlantic City Rail Line trains; modified hours for bike access on trains travelling in or out of Hoboken, Newark and New York; and the establishment of an agency “Bicycle Advocate” to represent cyclist concerns internally and review public comment received through the njtransit.com/ website. http://www.njtransit.com/tm/tm_servlet.srv?hdnPageAction=PressReleaseTo&PRESS_RELEASE_ID=2783
New Jersey Bicycling Manual (NJDOT) http://www.state.nj.us/transportation/commuter/bike/pdf/bicyclingmanual.pdf
The New Jersey Bicycle and Pedestrian Resource Center http://policy.rutgers.edu/vtc/bikeped/
The Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center (USDOT) www.pedbikeinfo.org
Tips, bike reviews and safety information for bike commuters http://commutebybike.com/
Smart Cycling Quick Guide http://bikeleague.org/quickguide
Biking Expert Blog http://www.bikingexpert.com/blog/
NJ Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Council http://policy.rutgers.edu/vtc/bikeped/bpac/
New Jersey Bike & Walk Coalition http://www.newjerseybikewalk.org/
Listing of Bicycle Clubs in New Jersey http://www.nj.gov/transportation/commuter/bike/bikeclubs.shtm
Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia http://www.bicyclecoalition.org/
League of American Bicyclists http://www.bikeleague.org/
Bikes Belong http://www.bikesbelong.org/
Alliance for Biking & Walking http://www.peoplepoweredmovement.org/
Bicycle Commuting 101
- Plan your route in advance using Google Maps or www.bikeroutelocator.com. Take a test ride to note pavement and traffic conditions. You may want to avoid steep inclines and locations with poor visibility. Try out your commute trip on a weekend, where there will be less traffic to deal with.
- Try commuting a day or two a week during nice weather to get started. After a few weeks you’ll be hooked and may want to make it an everyday commute option.
- Allow yourself about a half-hour for a four-mile commute, or an hour for an eight-mile trip. Take your time and enjoy the trip. For longer commute, think about linking your trip with public transit. NJ TRANSIT, PATCO, SEPTA and local shuttle services often accommodate bicycles. For more on local transportation providers bicycle policies check out our Bikes on Board Guide.
- Lock your bike securely. If secure bike parking facilities are not provided, ask your employer if you can bring the bike to your work area. For more locking tips check out (link).
- It’s a good idea to bring a washcloth and a hand towel to freshen up and look your best.You may want to have a change of clothes at work on those hot days where you may sweat a a lot. Most days you’ll be fine as long as you take your time and pedal at a comfortable pace. Some employers provide showers. If those facilities are available, awesome! If not, get your co-workers biking and ask for them!
- Plan for inclement weather. If weather turns bad – such as storms or extreme temperatures – you might arrange to be picked up, take public transit or share a ride. Many employers offer an Emergency Ride Home program to bicyclists who experience these problems.
- Get paid to Bike! Find out if your employer participates in the Federal Bike Commuter Benefit Program, or ask them to. Also, enter our Caring Commuter Program today and start saving at local businesses just for giving biking to work a try.
Basic Safety and Riding Tips
What to wear?
You don’t need to dress like you’re in the Tour de France. Wear whatever you want. However, here are a few quick tips:
- Your most important fashion accessory is a helmet. Make sure you get one that fits.
- Wear comfortable, bright-colored clothing.
- Be mindful of loose clothing that could get caught in moving parts. It’s a good idea to wear pant clips, or tuck your pant legs into your sock, to prevent cuffs from getting caught or soiled.
- Dress for the weather. There is no bad weather for biking, just bad clothing. Wear layers on colder days to stay warm, but prevent overheating. On rainy days, get yourself some waterproof pants and jacket.
- The League of American Bicyclists has a series of videos that provide helpful tips and instruction on basic riding skills.
Think about storage.
You may have a few items you want to bring along for the ride, or you may be running some errands and need to store items you pick up at the store.
- A backpack is often the easiest way. Bike messengers have been getting by with these forever. There are many different shapes and sizes. Find whatever works for you.
- Look into racks and panniers (bags for your bike) available at your local bicycle shop. You’d be surprised how much you can carry when you start exploring these options.
- Follow the rules of the road. Ride to the right with traffic–not against it. Obey all traffic signs and signals. Bicyclists have the same obligation to safety as motorists do. Be courteous and share the road.
- Use hand signals for turning or stopping. Extend your left hand out straight for left, up for right, and down for slowing down or stopping.
- Make sure that motorists, other cyclists and pedestrians can see you at night. Wear bright or reflective clothing and be sure to have battery operated lights for the front and rear of your bike. Those reflectors aren’t visible until a car is very close to you.
Walking can be a great commute choice for short distances or as part of a longer commute. If you live less than a mile from your work location — or from public transportation — walking can be a relaxing and inexpensive commuting choice. Walking not only reduces traffic congestion and promotes cleaner air — it’s a great form of exercise! Did you know that walking one mile in 30 minutes burns 120 to 180 calories? Benefits of Walking The average person can walk about a quarter mile in five minutes.If you live within a mile or less of your work, bus or train stop, give walking a try, even just one or two days a week. Like bicycling, walking allows you to combine daily exercise with your commute. America Walks offers new report on the benefits of walking America Walks has produced a new report further detailing the benefits of walking. “A Walking Revolution: A Movement Making Americans Happier and Healthier” highlights the value of walking and walkability as it relates to health, business, community, schools, and the environment. The report can be downloaded at http://www.americawalks.com. UN releases pedestrian safety manual The United Nations Road Safety Collaboration has released its global manual for addressing pedestrian safety concerns. “Pedestrian Safety: A Road Safety Manual for Decision-Makers and Practitioners” is designed to help engineers, planners, law enforcement officers, public health professionals, educators and others implement pedestrian safety measures around the world. You can download the manual at: http://who.int/roadsafety/projects/manuals/pedestrian/en/index.html.
Safe steps for the foot commute
- Don’t jaywalk. Cross only at corners or crosswalks. Never cross in the middle of the block unless a crosswalk is provided.
- Cross only on the green.
- Look all ways before crossing.
- Avoid crossing between parked cars.
- When walking on the road, stay on the left side, facing traffic.
- Wear reflective materials so drivers can see you at night or in bad weather.
How to hit the ground walking
- Map out a route. Consult a street map and choose a route that will take you through areas with well-paved sidewalks or wide shoulders.
- Consider a route that runs along a transit line. If you are running late or the weather turns nasty, you can hop the bus to complete your commute. If your worksite is too far to walk, a combination of walking and public transportation may be the answer.
- Take a collapsible umbrella and/or a raincoat and rain hat.
- Try your route on a weekend. You’ll want to make sure it is a comfortable distance before you make the first foot commute.
- Wear sturdy, comfortable shoes or sneakers. If you buy new shoes, be sure to break them in before you wear them for your foot commute.
- Use a backpack or a briefcase with an adjustable strap. This makes it easier to carry your essentials.
Avoid Pedestrian Distractions
Distraction is a common cause of accident on the roadway, and distracted drivers have long been a topic of study by researchers and a target of sanction by authorities. However, there is relatively little notice of another increasingly distracted road user, the pedestrian. Tips for Pedestrians
- Walk slower
- Stay focused and stay alert
- Do not talk on the phone while walking near busy streets or stops
- Pay attention at cross walks and intersections
- Do not text while walking
- Do not read newspapers or magazines while walking
Pedestrian fatalities increased by 16% between 2008 and 2009 and represented nearly 27% of all traffic fatalities in 2009, nearly double the national average. Leading Articles about the Awareness of Distracted Pedestrians Distracted Pedestrian Awareness NPR: Caution – Walking and Cell Phones Don’t Mix States’ Lawmakers Turn Attention to the Dangers of Distracted Pedestrians http://healthland.time.com/2009/11/16/walking-in-traffic-the-dangers-of-cell-phone-distraction/