Metroplan is promoting Friday as a "Ditch Your Keys" and "Ride Your Bike to Work" day. Good for you. Good for cleaner air.
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (May 18, 2011) — Central Arkansans can help improve air quality while saving gasoline by taking advantage of the first “Ditch the Keys” and “Ride your Bike to Work” Day on Friday, May 20. This event is a partnership between Ozone Action Days and the city of Little Rock.
This Friday, May 20, Ozone Action Days is encouraging central Arkansans to “Ditch the Keys” and take alternate modes of transportation to improve air quality. The participating cities in the event include Little Rock, North Little Rock, Benton, Maumelle and Conway.
“Riding your bike, carpooling, taking the bus… every small action taken by enough individuals can have a significant effect on ozone air pollution,” said Jim McKenzie, Metroplan executive director. “With ‘Ditch the Keys,’ The Ozone Action Days Committee hopes that central Arkansas residents will support this commute challenge and contribute to reduce the pollution in the Natural State.”
On May 20, the public is invited to join Mayor Mark Stodola, along with local personalities to ride their bikes to work from the Little Rock base of the Big Dam Bridge to Little Rock City Hall. There will be a second point to meet the group around 7:45 a.m. at the old Harvest Foods location in Riverdale. Later that morning, Hot Dog Mike will be on hand with refreshments for purchase.
“The city of Little Rock is committed to encouraging healthy lifestyles and sustainable practices. Bike to Work Day encapsulates those efforts nicely, said Bruce Moore, Little Rock city manager. “We’re looking forward to seeing more city employees and residents not only riding their bikes to work, but also cycling before and after work for fun and exercise.”
The city of Conway is also taking an active approach by hosting a variety of events. Conway’s Advocates for Bicycling (CAB) and The Ride are sponsoring the “Conway Bike to Work Commuter Cup Challenge.” The public can register at www.greenlightride.com
The city of North Little Rock will once again hold its annual "Bike to Work Rally" and "Commuter Challenge" at the boat ramp pavilion in North Little Rock’s Riverfront Park from 7 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. with coffee, juice and snacks for all riders. The public is invited, and groups will be departing from Cook’s Landing and the Little Rock end of the Big Dam Bridge at 6:15 a.m. on Friday morning to ride the rally. People riding from home are welcome to stop by the rally site for refreshments, door prizes, fun and fellowship. Concurrent with the "Bike to Work Rally" is also the annual "Commuter Challenge." The company with the most riders attending the rally will also take home the traveling BACA Commuter Challenge trophy. For more information, contact Bicycle Advocacy of Central Arkansas (BACA), firstname.lastname@example.org.
For the first time, the city of Benton is promoting the "Ride your Bike to School" Day, a special event sponsored by the Mayor’s Youth Advisory Council. The group is scheduled to meet at Tyndall Park at 7:15 a.m. and ride to Benton High School. Students and the general public are invited to participate. For more information, contact Angela Ross at 501-860-1170 and Kate Ross at 501-317-5572.
Mayor Mike Watson will be representing the city of Maumelle and will be riding his bicycle from home to work.
All residents in central Arkansas can do their part to make this event a success. There are several alternatives to take besides driving, including:
· Ride your bike
· Take the bus (CATA buses have bike racks available)
· Central Arkansas residents are also encouraged to visit arkride.com, a ride-matching system for commuters in central Arkansas.
Central Arkansas Ozone Action Days was created in 1997 to increase awareness of ozone air pollution, reduce the health risks associated with exposure to ground-level ozone and help keep the region in compliance with the National Ambient Air Quality Standards for ozone. Although ozone in the upper atmosphere serves a useful purpose by shielding the earth from ultraviolet rays, ground-level ozone can cause health problems in humans (causing, in effect, a sunburn on the lungs) and damage to vegetation. The major contributing pollutants are emitted by cars, trucks, industrial smoke stacks, construction and farm equipment, lawn mowers, all-terrain vehicles, aircraft and motor boats.