Courtesy Sustain Charlotte
Biketoberfest Returns for Second Year to Educate about Cycling
by Kimberly Lawson
In 2015, Jordan Moore, bicycle program director with Sustain Charlotte, and his wife, put a little over 2,000 miles on the car they share. The rest of the time, they used their bicycles to get around the city. After calculating gasoline, taxes, insurance, car maintenance and one necessary repair, Moore says they spent about $2 per mile to use their car last year.
For a family of four or a single mother struggling to make ends meet, the cost to keep and use a car can be astronomical. And as Charlotte is rated dead last among the country’s 50 largest cities in upward mobility for children, any way to cut back on expenses is worth considering. “Our city should be clamoring to put people on bicycles right now as a solution to this problem,” says Moore.
On October 15, he hopes to help the public see how easy it is to use a bicycle as a mode of transportation with Sustain Charlotte’s second annual Biketoberfest. Cyclists will take over the streets of Uptown, South End and the west side and visit sponsoring businesses, such as Bulldog Beer & Wine, Rhino Market, UNC Charlotte Center City and Bechtler Museum of Modern Art. At each stop, participants will gather stamps that will translate into raffle tickets to earn prizes at the after-party at Triple C Brewing.
After last year’s Biketoberfest, Moore says a post-event survey revealed that approximately 80 percent of people said they’d be more likely to use their bikes for a quick errand. “Our mission is to get people in Charlotte to understand that they have that option,” he says. “We want to teach people that there are safe ways [for cycling] and point those ways out to them, and we also simultaneously want to say to our city that a lot more people would choose these options if it was obvious where bikes are supposed to be.”
Moore says they also hope to do a demonstration of what a protected bike lane looks like. Sustain Charlotte has been leading the charge to get the city to build one connecting Irwin Creek Greenway and Little Sugar Creek Greenway. In July, the group presented a petition with more than 5,000 signatures in support of protected facilities to City Council, and now the proposal is being considered by a transportation planning subcommittee. Recommendations about what a minimum grid and connected roads and facilities would look like for Charlotte are due sometime in December, Moore says.
“It should be intuitive as it is to drive to ride a bike. The road itself should speak to you about where to go and where you’re supposed to be,” Moore says. “The reason incidents happen between motorists and cyclists usually is because the cyclist doesn’t have a great place in the road, and most of the time the motorist did not see the person.”
The move to make Charlotte more bike-friendly has a lot to do with making driving safer, Moore explains. “This is not a bike versus car dilemma. It’s a bike and car dilemma.”
The cost to participate in Biketoberfest is $10-$30, which goes to support Sustain Charlotte’s bicycle program. Check-in on Oct. 15 is at Triple C Brewing, 2900 Griffith St. Visit SustainCharlotte.org/Biketoberfest for more information.