BikeSafe program’s week of bicycling emphasizes greener methods of traveling

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In an effort to transform South Florida into an eco-friendly hub that promotes greener transportation methods, the University of Miami BikeSafe program is teaming up with the KiDZ Neuroscience Center for a week of bicycling.

The BikeSafe program, created in 2009 to address Miami-Dade County’s poor record of bicycle injuries and fatalities, will be a major participant in Wheels 2015, an upcoming weeklong event that hopes to bring together numerous South Floridian communities to take part in an extensive schedule of bike-related activities.

“A lot of it has to do with getting people to use their bikes and modes of public transportation,” BikeSafe’s program manager Jonathan Hooshmand said. “It also deals with creating awareness for bicycling and getting more people to use their bikes in Miami-Dade County.”

In an era when gasoline-fueled automobiles dominate the transportation industry, the Wheels program aims to promote “affordable, healthful, money-saving” means of moving around South Florida, according to the event’s official website. Enacted in conjunction with the KiDZ Neuroscience Center, the bicycle rodeo for children is expected to be one of the main highlights for the event. During this kid-friendly activity, participants will use bicycles and public transportation to travel across Miami-Dade to areas such as Wynwood and Vizcaya.

“There’s going to be bikes for children who don’t show up with one of their own, so literally anyone can participate,” Hooshmand said.

Saturday, Nov. 14 is planned to be the biggest day of the weeklong event, sporting a firm bastion of events intended to promote cycling. The rodeo is set to unfold on that day along with a secondary event referred to as a “Kidical Mass,” a play on words of the term “critical mass.”

“This is an event where we take a group of kids and ride to the nearest park, where they play for a while before riding back to the event,” Hooshmand said. “This is the first time this event has ever been hosted in Miami-Dade County. It’s part of a national conference, and supposedly there’s going to be some national and statewide presence, including the Florida Bicycle Association.”

Other sponsors include the Green Mobility Network, an organization that’s specifically dedicated to make Miami more pedestrian-friendly.

Those who come to the event are advised to come with bike riding essentials such as bright and reflective clothing, water bottles and a mini air pump, according to BikeSafe’s website. The weeklong event is expected to kick off on Wednesday, Nov. 11 and last all the way to Sunday, Nov. 15. Details on how to register along with a full schedule of events can be found on the official Wheels 2015 website: kidzneurosciencecenter.com/events/wheels-2015-south-miami.

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