May is National Bike Month, and as a city committed to sustainability and climate action, Columbia is the perfect place to celebrate! Our city’s Climate Action & Adaptation Plan (CAAP) is committed to reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions 50% by 2050 — and with transportation making up nearly a third of our GHG emissions, choosing to bike rather than driving brings our community one step closer to our goal.
The City of Columbia currently has over 141 miles of painted bike lanes and 62 trail system miles. Most trips in town are less than two miles, making them accessible for cycling. Travelling at an easy pace, you can arrive to most local destinations in about 10 minutes, with no parking hassles. By cycling more and driving less you can reduce greenhouse gas emissions and air and water pollution, create safer streets for kids, support a quieter neighborhood, lessen the need for expensive road repair, and create a friendlier environment to live in. Start with a bike!
Don’t know when to start? Try May 19th on Bike to Work Day and join other Columbia residents in making the day’s commute cleaner!
One of the main goals for Columbia’s transportation in our Climate Action & Adaptation Plan is mode-shifting: encouraging the use of sustainable transportation like biking, walking, and public transit over the use of private vehicles by making cleaner transportation easier, safer, and more available. In fact, by 2050, our CAAP aims to decrease single occupancy vehicle trips to just 10% of transportation (in comparison to our baseline of 78%!).
In creating a more bikeable community, we’re focusing on:
- Increasing the safety and convenience of biking through revised street design standards
- Building a network of protected bike lanes and other bike facilities
- Establishing an accessible and affordable bike share program in the City
If you’re already prepared to take a ride and celebrate Bike Month this May, our city has numerous bike trails and paths that offer a variety of scenery and difficulty levels:
- MKT Trail: This 8.9-mile trail is paved and perfect for bikers of all skill levels. The trail runs from Flat Branch Park in downtown Columbia to Katy Trail State Park, and offers beautiful views of the city and surrounding countryside. What’s more – there's no cars on the trail, so you won’t have to worry about dealing with any traffic.
- Hinkson Creek Trail: This 7.5 -mile trail runs through the heart of Columbia and offers beautiful views of Hinkson Creek and the surrounding natural areas. The trail spans from Conley Road to the MKT Trail.
- Bike Boulevards: With a number of available roads in our city, Bike Boulevards allow for easy in-city cycling.
Biking is a safe and enjoyable way to explore the city, but it's important to follow basic safety tips to ensure a safe and comfortable ride. You can see Columbia’s Nonmotorized Transportation page for a deeper dive into biking safely in our city, but some basic bike safety tips for community members include:
- Wear a helmet: Wearing a helmet can help prevent head injuries in the event of a crash or fall.
- Follow traffic laws: Bikers are required to follow the same traffic laws as motorists. This means stopping at stop signs and red lights, using hand signals, and staying in the designated bike lanes.
- Be visible: Wear bright, reflective clothing and use lights or reflectors on your bike to increase visibility to motorists.
This month, hop on your bike, explore the city, and make a difference for our planet!