RAQC, DRCOG & Denver B-cycle Team Up to Care for Summer Air
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Mayor Vidal Announces the Start of Summer Ozone Season & Colorado Bike Month
DENVER (June 1, 2011) – Mayor Guillermo (Bill) V. Vidal, members of the Regional Air Quality Council (RAQC), Denver Regional Council of Governments (DRCOG) and Denver B-cycle announced the start of the summer ozone season and Colorado Bike Month today at a press event, held at the Denver Performing Arts Complex. The press conference detailed the importance of improving air quality in the Front Range and how the work of RAQC, DRCOG and Denver B-cycle will continue to help move Colorado to a cleaner future.
“Summer ozone season is upon us, and we should be aware of how our daily actions directly effect our air quality and ozone pollution,” said Mayor Vidal. “While ozone awareness and bicycling may seem like very different topics, they are intertwined, with bicycling and public transit serving as one of the many helpful tactics anyone can take to help alleviate ozone pollution.”
Colorado is a premiere bicycling state; and to celebrate bicycling for transportation, fun and fitness, June is known as Colorado Bike Month. Colorado joins a nationwide effort to encourage cycling novices and enthusiasts to experience the fun and freedom of safely riding a bike to work, school, errands and recreation, which helps reduce vehicle miles traveled and improve air quality. The highlight of Bike Month is the region’s annual Bike to Work Day on June 22 – a day to celebrate bicycle commuting.
“DRCOG coordinates Bike to Work Day each year to introduce more metro residents to the many advantages of bicycle commuting, which include reducing vehicle emissions causing ground-level ozone,” said DRCOG Executive Director Jennifer Schaufele. “Last year, more than 17,000 people participated in Bike to Work Day, keeping nearly 300,000 miles from being driven by car – a number that’s a big help during our high ozone season.”
In an effort to help Denver B-cycle members participate in Bike to Work Day, Denver B-cycle will be encouraging all those planning on riding a B-cycle on June 22 to register for Bike to Work Day at www.drcog.org/biketowork. Denver B-cycle enables more extensive use of transit by oftentimes filling in the last mile of trips, giving downtown dwellers and visitors a way to move around without their cars. Denver B-cycle also provides members with a personal account page that not only highlights miles ridden, calories burned and money saved, but also carbon offset to help users track the many benefits of bicycling.
Summer ground-level ozone pollution is the Front Range region’s biggest air quality concern and is formed when emissions from everyday items combine and “cook” in the heat and sunlight. Sources of such emissions include local industry, gasoline-powered vehicles, lawn equipment, household paints, and stains and solvents. Ozone pollution can trigger attacks and symptoms in people with pre-existing health conditions, such as asthma or other respiratory diseases. High levels of ozone pollution also affect healthy people who work or exercise outdoors and can cause breathing difficulties, eye irritation, and reduced resistance to lung infections and colds with exposure for prolonged periods.
The Denver region fell out of compliance with the federal standard for ozone pollution in 2007 and air quality experts forecast the region to remain out of compliance with stricter standards set by the EPA in 2008. Federal officials are expected to announce even stricter standards in July 2011 making it even more critical this summer for local residents, businesses and industry to do their part to help reduce ground-level ozone help reduce the health risks associated with summer ozone pollution.
“Ozone pollution continues to be a challenge for our community and all of us need to do our part to help reduce it,” said Andy Spielman, Chairman of the RAQC.
Ozone-causing emissions come from a wide range of sources. Front Range residents can take the following actions to reduce ground-level ozone:
- Sign up for Ozone Action Alerts to know when alternate behavior is imperative
- Drive less – Ride your bike, walk when you can, group your errands, take public transit and carpool whenever possible
- Mow in the evening after 5 p.m.
- Refuel in the evening after 5 p.m.
- “Stop at the click” – do not overfill gas tanks when refueling
- Keep vehicles regularly maintained
- Tighten gas caps after refueling
- Use new, earth-friendly lawn equipment
- Avoid solvent-based products; use water-based paint, stain and sealants
For more information about RAQC, please visit OzoneAware.org.
ABOUT THE REGIONAL AIR QUALITY COUNCIL
The Regional Air Quality Council (RAQC) is the lead air quality-planning agency for the seven-county Denver metropolitan area. In existence since 1989, the Council’s main purpose is to develop plans and programs to keep the region in compliance with federal air quality standards, with significant input from area citizens, business, and local governments. The RAQC also oversees the development and implementation of air quality outreach and education programs throughout the region. For more information, follow us on Twitter @OzoneAware, Find us on Facebook, visit RAQC.org or call 303-629-5450
ABOUT DENVER BIKE SHARING
Denver B-cycle, presented by Kaiser Permanente in association with a variety of community sponsors, is owned and operated by Denver Bike Sharing, a Colorado charitable, 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Denver Bike Sharing exists to promote health, quality of life and preservation of the environment in Denver. Through operating a citywide bike sharing system, Denver Bike Sharing offers residents and visitors an alternative form of public transportation, which is both environmentally friendly and affordable. It complements and integrates into the city’s overall transportation system and helps to implement the Greenprint Denver’s Climate Action Plan. www.denver.bcycle.com
ABOUT THE DENVER REGIONAL COUNCIL OF GOVERNMENTS
The Denver Regional Council of Governments (DRCOG) is a nonprofit collaborative association of 56 county and municipal governments in the metro area working together to make life better. In its sixth decade of regional service, DRCOG is proud of its focus on quality-of-life issues. These include mobility, service to older adults, environmental concerns, planning for the future, public safety, and the provision of information for sound decision-making. For more information, follow us on Twitter @DRCOGorg, find us on Facebook, visit www.drcog.org or call 303-455-1000.
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