Peace and Environment News — Insider, April–June 2012
by Mike Buckthought
May is Bike to Work Month in Ottawa, and EnviroCentre is collaborating with workplaces across the region to encourage people to cycle to work. EnviroCentre is offering an updated information kit, workshops, cycling safety information, multimedia tools, and an online pledge system.
Last year, 861 people pledged to cycle to work, covering a total distance of 759,040 km. Participants reduced greenhouse gas emissions by an estimated 191 tonnes by biking instead of using motorized modes of transport.
The 2012 edition of Bike to Work Month promises to encourage even more people to cycle to work instead of using cars and SUVs.
This year, EnviroCentre and the City of Ottawa will be introducing the BikeMobile, an interactive display booth on wheels, greeting employees with prize give-aways outside eight workplaces.
“The idea is to bring a simplified version of the celebration stations we’ve done in the past, right to your door. We’ll let the public know where we’re going to be each week on Twitter and through our online events calendar,” says Jessica Wells, EnviroCentre’s Programs Coordinator for Sustainable Transportation. “When you see us parked outside your lobby entrance, take a minute to check it out,” she says.
EnviroCentre has teamed up with City Wide Sports to offer 60-minute cycling workshops at workplaces for a modest fee. Lunch and Learn workshops will provide an introduction to commuter cycling, or a hands-on bicycle maintenance demonstration, and practical information about safe cycling. Cycling safety workshops will teach introductory and intermediate skills, with practice sessions in parking lots and on city roads.
EnviroCentre is collaborating with 65 workplaces representing over 50,000 employees.
“Cycling is a convenient, fun, healthy, and cost-effective way to travel. In Ottawa, the average commute is 7.8 km and one-third of us travel less than 5 km to work,” says Wells. “There is therefore, a huge amount of potential to reduce transportation-related greenhouse gas emissions, road congestion, and noise and air pollution. Small steps can have a significant impact.”
The online pledge system has been expanded to track statistics such as distance travelled, reductions in emissions, calories burned, and dollars saved. Workplaces can combine their pledge totals to compete against other organizations to see which group has the largest number of green commuters.
To participate in Bike to Work Month or for information, visit www.biketoworkottawa.com. When you pledge to bike to work, you’ll be eligible to win prizes, which will be awarded at the Bruce Timmermans Award Ceremony on May 31.
EnviroCentre is a non-profit organization that works to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Ottawa and Eastern Ontario by delivering energy-efficiency programs and services. EnviroCentre has coordinated Bike to Work since 2010.
Published in the Peace and Environment News — Insider, Volume 27, Number 2, April–June 2012, page 4.