By Michael Turnbell and Dana Williams, Sun Sentinel April 16, 2012
It is part of a cycle: As gas prices rise, so do the number of folks who pedal to their jobs.
Census data show the number and percentage of people commuting to work by bicycle has increased in South Florida in the past few years, with more than 13,600 in Broward, Palm Beach and Miami-Dade counties riding to their jobs in 2010. Gas prices were about $3 a gallon then; today, they average close to $4 a gallon. Still, less than 1 percent of all commuters trade horsepower for pedal power.
Bicycling to work takes planning and also might require taking a bus or a train if the commute is long. But it can result in big savings. A person who bikes five miles to work three days a week could save $311 a year in fuel costs alone. To calculate how much you can save, go to SunSentinel.com/biketowork. If the idea appeals to you, here are tips on how to do it.
Planning your route
First, determine your goal. Are you looking at the fastest route, or one with the least interaction with traffic? Most cyclists either make their own maps, use GPS-type devices or go to MapMyRide.com.
Both Broward and Palm Beach counties have interactive route planners that rank streets by riding suitability, based on the amount of interaction with traffic. You see if your route includes a marked bike lane, a wide shoulder or a separate path away from traffic.
In Broward: go to sunsentinel.com/bikebroward
The commuter train now has bike lockers at every station except Pompano Beach, which is being rebuilt. Out of 560 lockers, about 220 are rented.
To rent a locker, you'll need to present a form of identification and put down a $20 refundable deposit. Rentals are available through ticket agents at the West Palm Beach, Pompano Beach, Fort Lauderdale Airport and Hialeah Market stations, or go online at http://www.tri-rail.com to register.
You are allowed to bring bikes on the train for free, but space is limited. The train goes from Mangonia Park, just north of West Palm Beach, to Miami International Airport.
Broward County Transit has 215 buses equipped with racks that can carry three bikes, and the remaining 40 to 50 are being retrofitted to carry three as they are repaired. Palm Tran buses have two racks.
There is no cost to use them but it's first-come, first-served, meaning you may have to wait for the next bus if the rack is full.
In Palm Beach County, you can ride from the Tri-Rail station south of Yamato Road along the El Rio Trail. The 12-foot-wide "stand alone" path built by Boca Raton runs about 5.5 miles from the L-40 Canal just north of Clint Moore Road to Glades Road by Florida Atlantic University.
Palm Beach County has built eight miles of greenways in the northern part of the county, but none has been completed in the southern part of the county.
Two years ago, Palm Beach County had 100 miles of bike lanes on state roads. That's increased to 125 miles today. "Those facilities do accommodate a wide range of bicycles and it makes it much easier to ride than not having it," said Bret Baronak, Palm Beach County's bicycle and pedestrian coordinator.
In Broward, large sections of the New River Greenway, which runs along the canal paralleling Interstate 595, are finished. The stretch from University Drive to Southwest 136th Avenue was rebuilt as part of the reconstruction of I-595. The county built the section from 136th to Markham Park in Sunrise.
By the end of May, the section between University and Davie Road along eastbound State Road 84 should be finished. The easternmost section from Davie Road to Secret Woods Nature Center off S.R. 84 is completed.
The Cypress Creek Greenway, running from the Sawgrass Expressway to the beach, will be finished by September.
Fort Lauderdale recently began construction of a greenway along Flagler Drive from Sunrise Boulevard to Andrews Avenue. The four-lane street is being configured with two through lanes and a turn lane to accommodate the greenway. Future phases will connect the greenway south to Broward Boulevard.
For the rest of the article go to: http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/broward/fl-biking-to-work-gas-prices-20120415,0,4366858.story?page=1
Watch for bicyclists at all times. Scan for them in traffic and give them the appropriate right of way.