goDCgo, an initiative of the District Department of Transportation, is in the midst of its Pledge to Pedal winter campaign, and is looking for D.C. consumers to act as “roll” models by forgoing motor vehicles and biking to work.
The organization encourages the use of sustainable transportation, with the goal of decreasing traffic congestion, improving air quality and creating a better quality of life in the D.C. area.
As part of the winter campaign, which began on February 22 and runs through March 18, goDCgo’s main call to action is for residents to take the Pledge to Pedal.
As of March 4, it currently has close to 300 pledges from D.C. residents who agreed to set a positive example as a D.C. bike commuter by committing to ride a bike at least once per week, encourage others to join the bike community, and by practicing proper bike etiquette.
“Our bike campaign is designed to grow D.C.’s bike community, and we do them seasonally, and we wanted to encourage bike riding during the cold winter months,” says Korrea Johnston, marketing manager for goDCgo. “With this campaign, we wanted to raise awareness to best practices to stay safe during and post-pandemic.”
That involves understanding basic road rules, such as yielding to pedestrians, staying a certain distance from parked cars and signaling when turning.
“We also wanted to take into account some best Covid safety practices, like trying to maintain a safe distance from others, staying home if you have symptoms of illness, and advice on how to share the trails during this time,” Johnston says. “They have gotten busier with more people walking and trying to get outside to get some fresh air.”
After pledging, participants will receive a series of four emails with resources and information about their commitment and what they can do to help promote biking in D.C. This includes posting on social media, and goDCgo provides a template they can follow which will help encourage others to bike ride.
“One of the emails has information about how to commute with care by bike, and we share a blog about proper bike etiquette and road rules,” Johnston says. “We encourage people to email us to get a physical D.C. bike map to get around the city, and it also highlights all the different trails that we have here.”
Another email provides information about how bicyclists can join goDCgo’s group bike ride, which will be held on Sunday, March 20 at noon at the Anacostia Park Skating Pavilion.
“The ride will be about roughly 10-15 miles,” Johnston says. “This is not our first rodeo. We’ve done several group ride events, with our last this winter, which was very popular. The theme for our new ride is ‘Fall in love with biking,’ and along the way, they will be making stops at sculptures and murals around the city, such as the Heart Wall in Union Market, the LOVE HATE sculpture in Farragut Square Park and many more.”
There are five stops along the way, and she describes it as “a very easy ride,” so riders of all ages are welcome to participate and everyone will get a swag bag and be entered into a raffle to receive a $100 REI gift certificate.
According to DDOT, approximately 18,000 DC residents bike to work, which represents about 5 percent of all residents. That number has been growing in recent years.
“There are many benefits to biking and it can be very advantageous,” Johnston says. “It’s better for the environment, for one’s health, and it saves money. Biking will help reduce pollution in the city, you can save time by skipping traffic and not having to search for parking, and biking can boost your mental health and give you better sleep.”
The goal of goDCgo’s winter campaign is to get 1,000 pledges, a figure it did hit in the summer of 2019 pre-pandemic, and one it hopes will happen again.
“There are 600 bike stations and 6,000 bikes in D.C., so it’s very easy to be part of the biking lifestyle if people don’t have a bike already,” Johnston says.
All those who take the Pledge to Pedal are entered into a raffle to win prizes such as an Aventon ebike and gift cards to top retailers.
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