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Placer bike program promotes healthy commute

Traffic, congestion target of transportation officials
By: Eyragon Eidam of the Auburn Journal
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If driving to work each day isn’t as exciting as it used to be for you, a county-wide bicycle buying program may hold the alternative you’ve been looking for.

The Bucks for Bikes program focuses on getting daily drivers out of their cars and onto the seat of a bicycle seat with the help of some cold, hard cash.

For more than a decade the publicly funded effort has offered an incentive to anyone who would rather travel by bike than by car and offers as much as $200 toward the cost of a new bike.

Scott Aaron, associate planner with the Placer County Transportation Planning Agency, heads up the program and said its popularity has continued to grow throughout the years.

A successful application involves getting a quote from a Placer County-based bike shop, which Aaron said helps to promote local businesses.

Last year, PCPTA received 56 applications and funded 28 of them, eliminating approximately 1,060 vehicle miles traveled.

While Aaron said he would like to see all applications approved, the funding is limited.

Aaron said most of the successfully funded applicants list that they generally commute alone, would be willing to bike to work between three and four days a week and commute between two and 14 miles per day.

Duke Jay, owner of Atown Bikes in Downtown Auburn, is one of the bicycle shops participating in the county effort and said people are already turning up to get quotes for their applications.

This year, Jay said, people are showing more interest in bicycles with electric motors.

And while the cost is greater than the standard pedal-powered version, the electric bikes can reach speeds of up to 20 mph using only the motor and climb hills easier.

“If you have a way to commute, it’s the best,” he said of the roughly $4,000 bicycle.

According to Aaron, those who live or work in Placer County are welcome to apply through the Bucks for Bikes program.

Anyone interested in the participating in the program can apply through March 9 by visiting www.pctpa.net/cmp/bucks-for-bikes .