Berkeley commuters needed little or no persuading to swap pedal power for fossil fuels on Bike-to-Work Day: More bikes than cars passed through Bancroft Way and Telegraph Avenue.
At the head of the pack was Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates, who joined seven other East Bay mayors and about 17,000 cycling residents for the annual event Thursday.
The East Bay Bicycle Coalition, which sponsored the event, said Berkeley has the 4th highest rate of cycling in the nation, with 8 percent of all commute trips taking place on bikes, a statistic supported by the 2011 American Commute Survey.
Overall, participation rose 22 percent over 2011.
That came as no surprise to cycling advocates.
The day before, the umbrella organization America Bikes released the results of a survey showing Americans overwhelmingly support federal funding of improvements that ease and expedite bicycle travel.
The release was timed to put pressure on lawmakers as they wrangle over a two-year, $109 billion dollar transportation bill, said Dave Snyder, executive director of the California Bicycle Coalition. The telephone poll found that 83 percent those surveyed back federal spending on threatened programs including Transportation Enhancements, Safe Routes to Schools and Recreational Trails.
Support appeared to cut across party lines, with 88 percent of those who identify as Democrats, 80 percent of Republicans, and 86 percent of Independents favoring funding. The proportion leapt to 91 percent among respondents age 30 and younger.
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