Howard County residents are encouraged to swap their cars for bicycles on their morning commute May 16 as part of the county's first Bike to Work Day held at The Mall in Columbia.
Bike to Work Day is a regional and national event, held annually in the Baltimore region since 2004 as the kick-off for Clean Commute Month. Events will also be held in Baltimore, Towson, Annapolis and Bel Air.
The event aims to promote a clean commute and alternative modes of transportation, said Renee Robertson of the Commuter Solutions department of the Howard County Department of Planning and Zoning.
"It's really designed to help with the ground-level ozone that's detrimental to everyone's health," Robertson said.
Howard County's event will take place from 7 a.m. to 8 a.m. near the Sears Service Center and will feature speeches from County Executive Ken Ulman, Howard County Health Officer Dr. Peter L. Beilenson, Director of Planning and Zoning Marsha McLaughlin and Robert Anderson, vice president of integrated products at Nemetschek North America. Anderson regularly bikes to his job in Columbia.
Ulman is scheduled to begin his day in the Wilde Lake neighborhood and bike to the mall, according to Kevin Enright, director of the Office of Public Information for Howard County.
May is the beginning of the ground-level ozone season, according to the Web site for the Baltimore Metropolitan Council. Bike commuting can improve the air, as single-occupancy cars produce 20 percent of the ozone-emission pollution in the Baltimore region, according to the Web site.
Registered participants can pick up a free "Bike to Work Day" shirt and hat at the event. A drawing for prizes, which include bike accessories and a grand prize of a bicycle tour for two on the C&O; Canal/Great Allegheny Passage, will also be held.
For more information or to register, visit www.bike2workcentralmd.com. Registration is scheduled to close today.