Wednesday Feb 20 2008
Bike commuters could see dividends
By: Lauren Weber, The Placer Herald
Placer pedalers eligible to receive rebates
Riding your bike to work will soon pay off for some through an incentive program encouraging bicycle commuting. Through Bucks for Bikes, riders have the opportunity to receive up to $200 toward a new commuter bike if all the criteria is met “ the most important being that you ride your bike to work regularly. Solvi Sabol with the Placer County Transportation Planning Agency said she is surprised with how many people use bikes to get to work. It is definitely considered an alternative mode of transportation, Sabol said. Keith Kuykendall, manager of iBikes on Granite Drive in Rocklin, agreed. I certainly have customers that ride their bikes to work everyday, he said. Bucks for Bikes was first introduced to the county in 2001 and this year is made possible through a Clean Air Grant from the Placer County Air Pollution Control District, the city of Roseville and PCTPA. Applicants must be at least 18 years old, work more than 20 hours a week, live and work within Placer County and be serious about using bicycling as their work transportation, Sabol said. Funding is limited and not everyone who applies will be awarded the subsidy. We look at the merit of the application and how they plan to make commuting by bike work for them, she said. The deadline to apply for Bucks for Bikes is 5 p.m. March 28, and must include a quote from a bike store for a new bicycle. It can also include safety accessories such as a light, basket or bags, Sabol said. The committee reviews each application and the selected bike commuters will be notified by April 14. Once accepted, you must purchase a bike and send in the original receipt no later than April 28 and the subsidy check will be mailed upon receiving the receipt. For the month of May, in conjunction with Bike Month, residents who receive the money must log their miles on www.MayIsBikeMonth.com. The program is designed to decrease traffic and improve air quality within the county by encouraging biking to work. I think it's a great idea, Kuykendall said. I don't see any drawbacks. Kuykendall sells bikes that are commuter-friendly at iBikes and said he has a fair amount of customers searching for a bike to commute back and forth to work. A comfortable seat and a rack to hold items are both key for a commuter bike, he said. Programs similar to Bucks for Bikes have been implemented in other regions as well, and it has been successful in Placer County before. Mayor Brett Storey said that with the amount of small businesses in Rocklin, he hopes some of the business owners make use of the program. I think it's a great program provided it's practical for you to do that, Storey said.