Jamie Harrington of SMATE has walked or cycled to work for nearly 9 years. He finds it to be more convenient to walk or bike to work than to go through the process of parking with a permit. He even walks or bikes outside of his commute, and has found many benefits including low mileage on his car; having only added 27,000 miles in 9 years! Based on his experiences, Jamie has many great tips to share with those who cycle and walk, especially related to safety.
Jamie arrived to Washington as an experienced cyclist after riding in California. He continues to choose alternatives to driving alone not only for the environmental benefit, but also because of the exercise he gets. It is a great way to add cardio into his day! Jamie also enjoys the peacefulness and serenity of the forest he passes through as he comes to work in the morning. He says that there is such a joy to being in the woods, and there are no crowds at the time of day he travels.
Among his best advice to those who are cycling and walking, are to be lit, to be aware and to choose your routes carefully. Jamie says to make eye contact with drivers (especially when it is dark and raining) and not to scream around cars or try to beat the light at intersections. According to his experience, he says that being aware of cars is essential because, “in a confrontation with a car, you will lose every time”. Jamie also mentions some of the ways to make yourself visible to drivers: use spoke lights (as many accidents occur from the side), wear a reflective vest and use panniers instead of a backpack (for the full benefit of wearing a reflective vest). In addition to lighting his bike, Jamie also wears a forward facing blinking light and three blinking rear facing lights. He says, “you might even think about using lighted pant leg straps, too!”
Jamie commutes using sustainable transportation because, “it’s just not that far when you come right down to it. It doesn’t matter rain or snow. I’d walk to work if I couldn’t bike.” He saves money, gets exercise and reduces his carbon footprint in the process! Jamie chooses to log these non drive alone trips not for the chance of winning prizes, but, “because making the effort is part of community”.
Contact The Sustainable Transportation Office to learn more about your commuting options. Also, log your smart trips at www.whatcomsmarttrips.org to become eligible for cash prizes, discounts and other rewards.