Biking is not only a healthy activity, but also an affordable and environmentally-friendly alternative.
In the San Diego region, there are more than 1,340 miles of bikeways, making it easy to get almost anywhere by bike. Roughly 40 percent of all trips are less than two miles - the perfect distance for a bike ride.
In recognition of the importance of biking, the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) launched GO by BIKE, a public outreach and marketing program aimed at expanding awareness, appreciation and acceptance of biking as a practical and reasonable choice for getting around. GO by BIKE also represents the Regional Bike Network and is designed to encourage people to use existing bikeways as the means by which to get around on two wheels.
"We want San Diegans of all ages and abilities to feel comfortable and encouraged to ride their bikes for everyday trips, whether it's to the beach, the store, school or work," said SANDAG Chair and Santee Councilman Jack Dale. "Going by bike as a viable form of transportation is gaining momentum throughout the country. It's not just good for our health; it's good for the environment and the economy."
The GO by BIKE program applies unique branding to the Regional Bike Network, as well as other bike infrastructure and resources. The program includes a new web portal, GObyBIKEsd.com and a hashtag of #GObyBIKEsd.
The GO by BIKE brandmark - which features a bike graphic with wheels in the shape of the letters G and O - will be applied to bike racks, bike parking facilities and signage for existing and future bikeways, as well as a wide range of promotional materials, including print and radio advertising, websites and billboards.
Visitors to GObyBIKEsd.com can access information about the Regional Bike Plan, SANDAG bike projects, events, classes, riding tips and other resources that will enable them to get involved and get active, including a link to the interactive Regional Bike Map to plan their next bike trip.
GObyBIKEsd.com has a streamlined design, making it easy for users to quickly find what they need.
In September 2013, the SANDAG Board of Directors approved the Regional Bike Plan Early Action Program, committing $200 million from the region's voter-approved TransNet half-cent sales tax to expand the bike network and finish high-priority projects within a decade.
The approval of the plan represents the single largest investment in bike projects and programs in the history of the San Diego region, and is regarded by some as unprecedented in the state and country.
Linda Culp, SANDAG principal planner, said the bikeways are designed with both avid and casual bike riders in mind. Bikeways that are incorporated along major routes are generally ideal for seasoned riders who rely on their bikes for everyday transportation, while some of the newer bike trails that offer buffers between people on bikes and people in cars may be more suited to casual bike riders.
"With the weather and geography in the San Diego region, we have two very good excuses to GO by BIKE," Culp said. "The additional bikeways that we're building as part of the Early Action Program will give folks more choices."
The plan aims to complete 42 projects, totaling about 77 miles of new bikeways, within ten years. These projects are spread throughout the county, from San Ysidro and Imperial Beach to Vista and Oceanside. About 18 miles of bikeways are in final design and engineering, with another 32 miles in the preliminary engineering and environmental phases of development.
Half-mile segments of the Bayshore Bikeway and Sweetwater Bikeway are expected to be completed soon, Culp said, with urban corridors taking closer to 18 months for completion.
"We spend quite a bit of time in a community when we first start the planning and preliminary phases of a bike project," he said. "We try to make it easy for people to keep track of what we're doing and I encourage them to try out the new bikeway segments and give us feedback."