Bike Month: Celebrating and Educating

May is here, bringing warm weather, the end of the 2016-17 academic year, and National Bike Month. To celebrate Bike Month, in this post, we’ll be talking about the prevalence of bicycling in Champaign County, the pros and cons of the data available, and the BikeMoves Illinois app. Finally, we’ll present some upcoming events happening during Bike Month here in Champaign-Urbana.

To assess how prevalent bicycling is in Champaign County and selected Champaign County municipalities, a good place to start is commuter mode share. (“Mode share” is generally defined as the percentage of travelers that opt for a given mode of transportation.)

Source: U.S. Census Bureau; American Community Survey, 2011-2015 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates, Table S0801; generated by CCRPC staff; using American FactFinder; (27 March 2017).

The data in the table above is from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2011-2015 American Community Survey (ACS) 5-Year Estimates. You can find data from the ACS 1-Year Estimates datasets at the county level discussed as part of our Commuter Mode Share indicator, and at the municipal and township level under the Transportation section of our Regional Dashboard. For additional data, the League of American Bicyclists website has more resources on commuting by bike.

We can see that a relatively small percentage of workers commute by bicycle in the Champaign County area (under 10% in all areas, and under 5% in most), but that there is also some variance from municipality to municipality. The Village of Mahomet is estimated to have no bicycle commuters, while the City of Urbana’s estimated bicycle commuter mode share, the highest in the county, is 6.2%.

The primary drawback of commuter mode share data is just that: that it measures commuter mode share. While it’s sound data for what it measures, it does not offer a complete picture of transportation behaviors in a given area. Commuter mode share data does not capture trips that are not work-related. It provides no insight on how residents of a given area run errands or make recreational trips, or how students get to school. Although it is helpful for the topic it covers, it is by no means comprehensive.

CCRPC/CUUATS is working on other resources to provide a more complete data set, including the BikeMoves Illinois app.

What’s the BikeMoves Illinois app, and where can I find it?

Released in August 2016, BikeMoves Illinois is a mobile app for Android and iOS that allows cyclists to record and share their routes with local planners. It also provides cyclists with information such as the locations of bicycle facilities and bike parking. BikeMoves Illinois was developed by the Champaign County Regional Planning Commission in partnership with the Illinois Department of Transportation and has been used to record and share more than 500 bicycle trips. Download the app from the App Store and Google Play Store, and look for a new version with improved mapping and automatic recording this summer!

What Bike Month events are coming up in the Champaign-Urbana area?

There is a full calendar of events going on in our area throughout the month of May to celebrate, and educate about, bicycling. A run-down of some events is below; even more events, additional details, and registration information can be found on the C-U Bike Month 2017 website, event calendar, and Facebook page.

  • Tuesday, May 2: Bike to Work Day
    Registration is still open for Champaign County Bike to Work Day, and welcome stations will be located around the community to offer free breakfast to participating cyclists.
  • Wednesday, May 10: C-U Bike to School Day
    Registration is open on the C-U Bike Month 2017 website.
  • Wednesday, May 10, 6 p.m.-dusk: Community Full Moon Night Ride
    The Community Full Moon Night Ride, to be held at Meadowbrook Park in the Windsor Road parking lot, includes activities for all ages, from live music, bike check-ups, and a raffle to guided bike rides and the optional night ride to Sidney Dairy Barn.
  • Saturday, May 20, 9 a.m.-12 p.m.: Playing It Safe Bike Rodeo
    This family safety fair, with opportunities for kids to learn and practice biking skills, will be held at Leonhard Recreation Center (2307 Sangamon Drive, Champaign).
  • Saturday, May 20, 2 p.m.-dusk: C-U Food Cruise
    Participants can join in any of seven guided tours through the Champaign, Urbana, and Savoy area, with stops at a variety of local eateries. All tours begin at Hessel Park and end at Jarling’s Custard Cup (309 W. Kirby Avenue, Champaign). Registration is required.
  • Monday, May 22, 5-7 p.m.: Spring Fling Bike Rodeo
    This community resource fair, another chance for kids to learn and practice biking skills, will be held at Garden Hills Park in Champaign.

So whether bicycling is your commuting mode of choice, a healthy way to run errands, or just a way to have fun, keep an eye out for opportunities to celebrate Bike Month here in Champaign County.

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