This is a good time to mark your calendars for a series of bike-releated events coming up this month, locally and nationally.
May is National Bike Month, sponsored by the League of American Bicyclists. The cycling advocacy organization also promotes Bike to Work Week, May 16-20, and Bike to Work Day on Friday, May 20.
In Fort Worth, my hometown, a Bike to Work Day event has traditionally been organized by The T, the Fort Worth Transportation Authority. Joanne Heredia, a spokeswoman for The T, said the rendezvous point and route for this year’s Bike to Work Day is still being worked out but that it will most likely end at the Intermodal Transportation Center at the corner of Ninth and Jones streets on the eastern edge of downtown, where refreshments will be served. Joanne said details of the ride will be posted in a news release on The T’s website.
Another event of significance being observed in Fort Worth is the Ride of Silence, held on the third Wednesday of May around the world in memory of bicyclists killed in accidents with vehicles.
The local event on May 18 is being organized by fellow cyclist Scott Strom. Cyclists are asked to gather in Trinity Park at 7 p.m. for a slow-paced, silent ride of nearly nine miles along the Trinity River, through downtown to the Near South Side and back to the starting point in Trinity Park. A map of the route is posted on a Facebook page for the ride.
“Think of it as a funeral procession for our fellow riders who have lost their lives enjoying the sport we enjoy so much,” Scott wrote on the Facebook page. “The ride is to honor their memory and to raise awareness of the need to safely share the road.”
Riders are encouraged to wear armbands — red for those who have been injured or harassed by motorists and black for everyone else.
E-mail communication and word of mouth attracted about 1,000 riders in what was expected to be a one-time event. But the idea went global. It will be observed this year in at least 16 countries and 46 states in the United States; Alaska, Idaho, North Dakota and Utah have yet to confirm rides this year.
And on the last Friday of every month, in Fort Worth and in cities around the country, groups of cyclists gather for Critical Mass rides to demonstrate that bicyclists have the same rights to use the streets as motorists. This month’s Critical Mass ride will be on May 27.
Fort Worth cyclists gather in Burnett Park downtown for the start of the monthly rides. For last month’s Critical Mass ride, on April 29, an estimated 75 cyclists turned out to ride about 15 miles through the Near South Side, the entertainment district along West Seventh Street and back to downtown.
Fort Worth, I’m proud to say, has taken great strides in accommodating cyclists. The city has long had an extensive, excellent network of bicycle trails, mostly along the Clear and West forks of the Trinity River. The City Council unanimously approved on Feb. 9, 2010, a “comprehensive bicycle transportation plan” and aims to “attain official designation as a Bicycle Friendly Community through the League of American Bicyclists” by 2015.
Called “Bike Fort Worth,” the plan also calls for expansion of the bike transportation network to nearly 1,000 miles, including off-street trails, dedicated on-street bike lanes and shared-roadway bike routes.