Bike to Work week in Penticton gets rolling

Drivers are asked to share the roads next week as the community rolls into Bike to Work Week from May 30 to June 5.

Michael Brydon (right) Area F Director for the Regional District Okanagan Similkameen hoists the trike trophy with Penticton Mayor Andrew Jakubeit at city hall

Michael Brydon (right) Area F Director for the Regional District Okanagan Similkameen hoists the trike trophy with Penticton Mayor Andrew Jakubeit at city hall

Drivers are asked to share the roads next week as the community rolls into Bike to Work Week from May 30 to June 5.

Bike to Work Week. which aligns with the same dates as Bike to School Week, encourages commuters to leave their cars at home and cycle instead. Whether you’re using four-wheeled transportation, or two, use extra caution and watch out for other vulnerable road users.

As they have in previous years the City of Penticton and the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen are participating in a intense competition to see which workplace has the largest percentage of staff participating in Bike to Work Week. The loser this year will have to wash bikes for an hour at the Peach on Lakeshore Drive.

The RDOS is the current defending champ after winning back the coveted trike trophy from the city last year.

Despite finishing second in 2015, Mayor Andrew Jakubeit was not above a little trash talking of the opposition Thursday in front of city hall.

“The challenge is on, last year we did lose the challenge, the RDOS did beat us, at least so we think because they still use an abacus (ancient counting tool) to do their math,” said Jakubeit. “It will be interesting to see Mr. Newell (RDOS chief administrative officer Bill Newell) who is always in a suit and tie and be there in coveralls and washing a bike.  I’ll make sure my bike is nice and dirty for him.

“Seriously, it’s good fun to challenge the regional district and have staff consider alternative transportation. It’s not just cycling, it’s cycling, walking or using public transit. It’s just a great community initiative.”

RDOS Area F director Mike Brydon was not about to take the bait, deciding to go the high road.

“Really the reason the RDOS has been so successful at this is the staff,” he said. “If we win it’s going to be because of our staff not the politicians.”

Events to celebrate the week kick off on May 30 in the park on Main Street and Nelson through to Thursday from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. and on June 3 in Rotary Park from 4 to 6 p.m.

Go to www.BikeToWork.ca/Penticton to register as an individual or as workplace or school team. Registering makes you eligible to participate in our many prize draws. Local organizers have set a goal to have over 700 rides. All team members must register and log their kilometres to be eligible for prizes.

Commuter bike workshops will also take place on June 1 from 6 to 9 p.m. to learn traffic rules, cycling theory and safety tips. On June 4 from 9 a.m. to noon there will be a road skills practice, supervised group ride and cycling tips offered. The workshops are $20 each, the first is a pre-requisite to take place in the June 4 workshop. There is limited space in the workshops so those interested must pre-register by emailing convida2002@gmail.com.

Penticton and Area Cycling Association and Penticton are holding a safety awareness ride led by Jakubeit from downtown to Walmart and back following marked bike routes. Organizers hope the ride will increase safety awareness among drivers and riders.

The group ride will be lead by Penticton and Area Cycling Association president Laura Harp, followed by the mayor and the RDOS chair Mark Pendergraft. Riding with them will be other city staff, RDOS staff, PACA members and possibly city councillors, RDOS staff, and PACA members. Bike to Work Week co-ordinator Karina Chambers will be bringing up the rear.

ICBC is also urging drivers and cyclists to be aware of each other on the roads. According to them, one of the biggest risks facing cyclists today is “dooring” ― when the driver or a passenger in a parked car opens their door into a lane of traffic or a bike lane without checking if a cyclist is approaching.

“Dooring” can seriously injure or even kill a cyclist, and accounts for one-in-14 cyclist incidents throughout the province. ICBC said it’s important that both drivers and passengers shoulder check for cyclists before opening their doors. Cyclists should keep at least one metre away from parked vehicles and watch for people in vehicles.

In B.C., 670 cyclists are injured and six are killed in car crashes from June through September as ridership increases every year.