The City of Philadelphia celebrated Bike to Work Day with a bike ride down the Ben Franklin Parkway this morning. Mayor Michael A. Nutter led the ride, as he has done every year during his tenure as Mayor.
“I’m thrilled once again to lead Bike to Work Day with the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia,” said Mayor Nutter. “Biking to work is a green and healthy choice for many Philadelphians, and I am encouraged to see so many people taking advantage of Philadelphia’s bike lanes and paths. Philadelphia has a strong bicycling community, and I hope it continues to grow.”
Bicycling rates have risen dramatically in Philadelphia over the past ten years. In 2011 the US Census found that the city had the highest per capita bicycle commuting rate of the nation’s ten biggest cities. The announced bike share system will further increase that number.
“Mayor Nutter and his administration deserve a lot of credit for making Philadelphia a safer, better place to ride a bicycle,” said Alex Doty, Executive Director of the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia, which organized the ride. “When you support bicycling through infrastructure and education, more people ride, and as bicycling rates go up, people feel safer – and actually are safer.”
Councilman Mark Squilla, Councilman Dennis O’Brien, Superintendent Dr. William Hite and Deputy Mayor Michael DiBerardinis also participated Friday morning, alongside members of the public and students from Meade and Meredith Elementary Schools.
“We are fortunate to live in a city that encourages sharing the road with cyclists,” said Dr. William R. Hite, Superintendent of the School District of Philadelphia. “Promoting and supporting safe bicycle commuting benefits adults and children alike. I commend Mayor Nutter, City Council, our students at Meade and Meredith elementary schools, and the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia for setting a great example.”
The Meade Bike Club and Meredith Safe Routes Ambassadors are two extracurricular bicycling clubs organized and funded at those schools through $10,000 grants the Bicycle Coalition helped the schools seek and win.
“The Philadelphia cycling tradition is rich and our recent ranking as the #4 most bikeable city in the country is earned on merit,” said Councilman O’Brien, a newcomer to the ride. “A bike is a vehicle to good physical and mental health, and riding a bike to work makes for happier and more productive workers. Today, I am pedaling into City Hall before I shift into my work duties. I encourage all Philadelphians to consider taking a spin to work because it’s a great way to start the day, or as President John F. Kennedy said, ‘Nothing compares with the simple pleasure of a bike ride.'”
Councilman Mark Squilla said, “I am happy to be riding bikes with the wonderful Meredith students to promote health, fitness and safe bicycle routes.” He has participated in the ride in each of his two years in City Council.