12:27pm

Mon May 14, 2012
Health and Welfare

Commuter Biking

The bicycle is in increasing popular in central Kentucky among commuters.   Among commuting cyclists, figures from the U-S Census Bureau ranks Lexington 64th out of 244 communities with populations greater than 65 thousand.   Each day, Lexington cyclist Mike Galbraith makes a four mile commute to work.  And, Galbraith, who’s an instructor with the League of American Bicyclists, says there is interest in extending bike routes in rural areas.    In Fayette County, he says the Legacy Trail offers such an opportunity

“Any extensions of the legacy trail that are proposed or implemented would be really beneficial to allow residents in the outer lying areas to commute to work on their bicycles,” said Galbraith.

The Legacy Trail links the Kentucky Horse Park to downtown Lexington.

In total, Lexington has 25 miles of trail and designated lanes set aside for cyclists.  Bikeway Pedestrian Coordinator Kenzie Gleason has no specific figures of the popularity of Lexington’s bike routes, she hopes to have more data later this year.

“One of the goals we have for this summer is to begin some formalized counts along some popular bike corridors…so that on an annual or bi-annual basis…we can get some numbers and some data on how many people are bike commuting along these corridors,” said Gleason.

Over the next few years, Gleason says their aim is to double the number of bike trails..

“We have a plan to hopefully re-stripe a number of our existing streets without having to add additional pavement so to speak.for about another 25 miles,” added Gleason.

Still, that depends on funding, and the bike coordinator says there is no money for new trail construction included in the budget proposal now before Lexington’s council.  Gleason hopes such funding will be set aside in next year’s budget.

Those improvements could also include improvements in cycling safety.  Tension often surfaces between bicycling commuters, and motorized vehicles.  Cycling instructor MIke Galbraith says bicyclists can help to foster a share the road philosophy.

“Riders who ride lawfully and responsibly really do a lot to help improve the image of bicyclists who are cycling in the public right of way,” said Galbraith.

May is National Bike Month.  This month individuals and businesses are competing in the ‘commuter challenge.’  Prizes will be awarded to cyclists who log the greatest number of trips.