For Immediate Release
Date: June 17, 2013
A Savannah woman will attempt to once again prove that the trusty bicycle is the fastest way to commute downtown as competitors gear up for the 5th Annual Dump the Pump Challenge this Thursday, June 20. In the classic contest of bicycle vs. bus. vs. car, the bicyclist has been the first to make it from midtown to City Hall each of the past five competitions, though the margin of victory has been razor thin.
The public can get in on the action by giving bicycle commuting a shot the same day, or taking advantage of free bus fares on all Chatham Area Transit routes all day long.
The three Challenge competitors begin the competition at 8 a.m. Thursday from the Twelve Oaks Shopping Center, when the Abercorn 14 bus is scheduled to arrive on its normal route downtown. The first to arrive at City Hall will be crowned the winner by Mayor Edna Jackson. The competitors must follow all traffic laws. The bus rider gets off at the nearest stop, while the car driver must park in the nearest garage.
Savannah Bicycle Campaign member Jen Colestock will represent Savannah’s bicycle commuters, CAT Board member and daily bus commuter Bill Broker will represent bus riders, and City of Savannah Management Services Bureau Chief Sean Brandon will drive the car.
A 2013 Pew Research study indicates that car ownership is declining among young adults and a study by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group found that “between 2001 and 2009 the annual number of passenger miles per capita traveled by 16 to 34-year-olds on public transit increased by 40 percent.” According to the National Association of Realtors, millennials are increasingly attracted to walkable and bikeable cities that are served by public transit.
Colestock was selected to represent the bicyclists in a June 13 qualifying event sponsored by the Savannah Bicycle Campaign’s SpokeModel group, which hosts events to encourage women and young professionals to make bicycling a part of their daily lives.
“You'll find that your head is clearer and your days are brighter if you start them on two wheels instead of four,” said Maggie Kantor, who organized the SpokeModel qualifying event. “While your coworkers sit in traffic and have to find parking (and probably pay for it if you work downtown), you can ride right up to the door of your office, lock your bike and walk in the door.”
National Dump the Pump Day is an annual event that promotes alternative forms of commuting that are cheaper and cleaner for the environment. The City of Savannah, CAT and the Savannah Bicycle Campaign have organized Savannah’s Dump the Pump Challenge since 2008.