Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Florida: Cyclists flocking to trains

Image of Tri-Rail train car in Florida
From the South Florida Sun-Sentinel (Broward County), 06.24.08:

More people are bringing bicycles along on their mass transit commutes
Brad Whidden figures he saves $65 a month on gas by riding his bike and taking the train to work in Fort Lauderdale. The 44-year-old emergency medical technician...says the exercise and environmental benefits also are good, even if leaving his car at home adds an hour and a half to his commute.

"I don't have to sit in traffic; my car doesn't have to sit in the sun," said Whidden, who started riding his bike about 30 miles a week to work a few months ago.

Whidden is part of a growing number of cyclists that Tri-Rail and bus officials in Broward and Palm Beach counties have noticed coming aboard recently. Fuel costs are a big reason, Tri-Rail spokeswoman Bonnie Arnold said. "Where you used to see two to three bikes in a [rail] car, now you see six to seven," Arnold said.

Ralph Cunningham, 55, started riding his bike to work in Boca Raton years ago to stay healthy. On weekdays, Cunningham bikes eight miles and rides Tri-Rail to the church where he works in maintenance and food service.

Cunningham said the number of bike commuters on Tri-Rail jumped around the time gas prices hit $3 a gallon. "Sometimes it's hard to get on here now," he said. (Read more.)
Encouraging article from Florida, showing the growth in multi-modal travel isn't limited to rail lines I'm familiar with such as California's Caltrain or Capitol Corridor. The article features several Flash videos, and comments from bike shops about the shift in consumer demands for more commuting accessories.

When you speak to your Congressperson this election year, also demand better transit funding--especially passenger rail--in addition to more money for bike facilities.

Images: Web capture.
Visit: Florida Bicycle Association
Visit: National Association of Railroad Passengers
Visit: Florida: Bicycles more popular, Bike Commute Tips Blog
Visit: Miami getting friendlier for cyclists, Bike Commute Tips Blog
Visit: Make Miami a bicycle friendly city, Bike Commute Tips Blog
Visit: Paul Dorn's Bike Commuting Tips Site


Edwin said...

Sadly it looks like Tri-Rail along with bus routes in the tri-county area will be reduced severely.

Our local blog will tell you in detail or you can see a discussion I started on another website for more info.

Rhett said...

Something they don't note, though, is that the trains are not really equipped for handling bicycle commuters at that level. There are only so many "bike cars" per train and the conductor can enforce a "two bikes per car" rule at any time, ejecting the extra cyclists from the car and often from the train. The tri-county transit authority has a long way to go on this one.

Anonymous said...

The two bikes per car is a problem especially when I ride/commute with my young sons...which one will be forced to ride in a separate car?