May 16, 2011

Representatives to bike to the State House tomorrow

STATE HOUSE – Representatives from around the state will pedal to the State House tomorrow to promote Bike to Work Day.
Participating representatives will gather tomorrow, Tuesday, May 17, at 3:15 p.m. at the Smith Street entrance to the State House for a photo opportunity, followed by another photo opportunity indoors.

Expected to participate are House Environment and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Arthur Handy (D-Dist. 18, Cranston), Rep. Thomas Winfield (D-Dist. 53, Smithfield, Glocester), Rep. Lisa P. Tomasso (D-Dist. 29, Coventry, West Greenwich) and Rep. Teresa Tanzi (D-Dist. 34, South Kingstown, Narragansett). Representatives Handy, Winfield and Tomasso will commute from their various locations by bike, and Representative Tanzi will commute from Wakefield through a combination of biking and the bicycle-friendly Rhode Island Public Transit Authority bus system.

This week is Bike to Work Week, and Friday is the official Bike to Work Day celebrated nationwide. Legislators will observe it at the State House Tuesday because the Assembly does not meet on Fridays and to encourage others to bike on Friday and every day.

“Taking your bike to work is good for the environment as well as great exercise for busy people. But what I like about it is that it doesn’t require particular fitness or ability, or even a great deal of lifestyle flexibility. I’ve biked from meeting to meeting in a suit and in the heat or a light drizzle. If you’re traveling a longer distance, you can take advantage of RIPTA and the commuter rail, both of which allow bikes on board. Like any kind of exercise, it takes a little willpower to overcome the temptation to make excuses not to do it, but it’s so much more of a rewarding way to get to work than sitting in a car in traffic,” said Chairman Handy, who is organizing the State House effort. 

Also on hand for the event will be representatives from the East Coast Greenway Alliance, the Rhode Island Bicycle Coalition, the U.S. Open Cycling Foundation, Narragansett Bay Wheelmen, Recycle-A-Bike and the Woonasquatucket River Watershed Council, who will receive a citation from the House of Representatives for their work encouraging the public to bike more and drive less.

“Rhode Island is blessed with a number of convenient and scenic bike paths, many safe roads for bicyclists, bike-friendly public transit and a compactness that makes bicycling to work possible for many people. It’s our hope that Bike to Work Day will introduce more Rhode Islanders to the pleasures and advantages of biking instead of driving and show them that it really is possible for them to become bicycle commuters,” Mark Dieterich, chairman of the Rhode Island Bicycle Coalition.