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Bike Month: Ride Safer, Carpool Free, Share Your Opinions

By Cody Kitaura/Dateline on May 1, 2018 in University

May is Bike Month around the region, but that doesn’t mean UC Davis can just “coast” and brag about the nearly 40 percent of people who already ride to campus every day.

May is Bike Month logoTransportation Services is working to encourage more and safer bicycling, increase carpooling and find ways to get people to consider alternatives to driving alone.

For May is Bike Month, the Sacramento region’s monthlong celebration of pedal-powered transportation, Transportation Services will set up weekly pit stops at several campus intersections where bicycle crashes are more common. The stands will include free snacks to help cyclists “recharge,” and will encourage more defensive behavior like scanning for hazards.

“We hope people can learn one simple thing at each pit stop to help them stay safe while they ride,” said Ramon Zavala, the department’s transportation demand and marketing coordinator.

Bicyclists can also take part in May is Bike Month challenges, where individuals, teams, employers and schools are pitted against one another to see who can ride the most miles or log the most trips on two wheels throughout the month.

At its pit stops, Transportation Services will hand out coupons for 15 percent off accessories at the Bike Barn, to help outfit bikes being pulled out of the garage for the first time since winter.

Don’t have a bike yet? The department’s biannual Bicycle Auction, where abandoned or donated bicycles are sold on the cheap, is set for Saturday (May 5). The auction, where the average selling price last May was $30, begins at 9 a.m. in the Pavilion Parking Structure (you can view the bikes starting at 7:30 a.m.) More than 400 bikes will be available.

A regional bike-share program is also headed to campus. JUMP Bikes, which was recently purchased by Uber, is expanding its service into Sacramento, the city of Davis and UC Davis. Details on that program are forthcoming.

Commuting to campus on four wheels will also be easier during the months of May and June. Waze, the Google-owned wayfinding mobile app, is expanding its carpool service by waiving the fee for riders headed to and from UC Davis from today (May 1) until June 30. With the service, riders and drivers mark their destinations and the app matches people headed in the same direction. Riders pay only the IRS reimbursement rate (currently 54.5 cents a mile), and drivers receive the same for their time. Read more information and sign up on the Transportation Services website.

Gary May in background, JUMP Bike in foreground.
A JUMP bicycle sits at the ready while Chancellor Gary S. May prepares for a bicycle ride Sunday (April 29) with UC Davis and city of Davis officials. (Karin Higgins/UC Davis)

But why do some happily ride bikes to campus while others continue to drive? During the month of May, the campus population will get the chance to explain why they make the transportation choices they do. Transportation Services is continuing its Transportation Tomorrow effort to reduce the single-occupancy car trips to campus by 10 percent — a UC-wide goal — with a survey that will be sent to all faculty, staff and students.

The survey will gauge how practical people feel it is to use modes besides driving, and how likely they are to try something new. Watch for an email invitation in mid-May to take the survey or take it now, said Eleni Jacobson, who is working on the Transportation Tomorrow plan.

“Broad campus participation will help our project identify the wisest investments to make into an efficient, sustainable transportation system,” she said.

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