Bellingham Police remind drivers to share the road on Bike to Work and School Day

Bellingham police remind drivers to share the road and use extra caution as thousands of cyclists are expected to participate in the annual Bike to Work and School Day on Friday, May 15.

Nearly three dozen groups will set up celebration stations in Bellingham and the county, where cyclists can stop, be counted, and gather snacks and information. For details, go to biketoworkandschoolday.org. Most stations will be open from 6:30 to 9:30 a.m.

Bellingham Police Department will sponsor a station at 505 Grand Ave. featuring information about their new bike theft prevention campaign, and the Public Works Department will sponsor a station at Ellis and Ohio streets with information about the new bike facilities going in this summer along Ohio Street.

Funding for the projects comes from a voter-approved Transportation Benefit District, which provides dedicated funding for transportation projects.

“We’re working as a city to add sidewalks and bike lanes to provide transportation options,” Ted Carlson, Public Works director said in a press release. “Cycling is a great transportation option that is also good for the cyclist and good for the environment.”

The city also is hosting the 14th Annual Tricycle Relay and Slow Bike races at noon Friday between City Hall and Bellingham Public Library at 210 Lottie St. To participate, contact Kim Brown, transportation options coordinator, at kimbrown@cob.org or 360-778-7950.

The event is part of National Bike Month. For the eighth consecutive year, Washington was named the most bicycle-friendly state by the League of American Bicyclists this week. The league annually ranks all 50 states on how “bikeable” they are. Washington received its highest marks for education and encouragement.

The annual Bike to Work and School Day in Whatcom County is returning to its roots as an all-volunteer effort this year.

Volunteers started the event in 1998 and ran it until the Whatcom Council of Governments took over the organizing in 2006. But dwindling funding for the council’s Whatcom Smart Trips program led to the decision to step away from its role as lead organizer of the popular event, which encourages adults and schoolchildren to try bicycle commuting for a day in May.

Although the council no longer is organizing the event, it still has a role. That includes posting on its website, biketoworkandschoolday.org, the locations of celebration stations being hosted by others, as well as hosting a celebration station itself at Holly Street and Railroad Avenue.