May is National Bike Month, and the Chapel Hill-Carrboro area is holding several cycling events to promote the activity and improve safety for cyclists and pedestrians.
Go Chapel Hill, a local organization that supports alternative modes of transportation to reduce air pollution and traffic congestion, will be hosting several of the local Bike Month events.
A "May the Wheels be With You" event was held in UNC's Polk Place on May 4, offering free bicycle checks and registration. Carrboro Mayor Damon Seils will be cycling with the community on May 10, and a youth artist workshop on May 14 will feature electric bicycle demonstrations and helmet fittings.
“I encourage residents to add biking to their transportation routines; to become advocates for biking, bicycle infrastructure, and bicycle-friendly laws and policies; and to take delight in every bike ride,” Seils said in a press release.
The Chapel Hill Mobility and Connectivity Plan, which was adopted in 2020, aims to make cycling and walking more comfortable and convenient on main thoroughfares. One of its stated goals is that 35 percent of all commutes in Chapel Hill would be via walking, cycling or busing by 2025.
Michael Parker, a member of the Chapel Hill Town Council, said encouraging cycling helps to combat climate change and promote a healthy lifestyle.
“We want to do everything we can to get people out of cars and using anything else,” Parker said. “Assuming it’s done safely, it has great personal health benefits. It’s great cardiovascular exercise and it's a great way to see your town.”
Local Business Involvement
Several local businesses will be providing free bicycle inspections throughout Bike Month, including Back Alley Bikes. Owner Jason Merrill, who got into the bicycle business about 20 years ago by fixing his own bike, said the world could be a better place if more people were to cycle and walk than drive.