Small crowd, free stuff at National Bike to Work Day celebration at Fourth Street Live

It was deceptively warm even though it was overcast Friday afternoon at the National Bike to Work Day celebration at Fourth Street Live, so there was plenty of water on hand for the bikers who stopped in to peruse the dozen or so information booths and pick up some bells and whistles (literally) for their bikes.

At least two booths were giving away bike bells, Bike Louisville was giving away front and rear lights for bikes and children’s and adults’ bike helmets. Several booths offered water bottles and T-shirts.

Kate Holwerk, a tech from the Department of Public Works, was working the Bike Louisville table. She said she expected to give away around 100 helmets. Holwerk taught more than 500 JCPS students how to ride a bike this past school year. She visits second through fifth grade PE classes for five days and teaches bike safety and maintenance, too.

Inevitably, if you bring up bike lanes in Louisville, someone is going to complain. “They’re very divisive,” said Chris Glasser of Bicycling for Louisville, an organization that lobbied Mayor Greg Fischer for bike lanes four years ago. Glasser said that he’s seen “steady progress,” including the fact that the mayor includes funding for bike lanes in the budget.

Glasser is also pleased with the new bike network, LouVelo, which is coming online in the city this month with 305 bikes and 28 stations.

Bike courier business owner Jackie Green was at the event advocating for lowering the speed limit in the urban core — inside the Watterson — to 20 mph. He explained that if a pedestrian is hit by a car traveling at 20 mph or less that person has a 95 percent chance of survival. Raise that to 30 mph to¬† 40 mph and a pedestrian has only 5 percent chance of survival, he said.

Green explained that changing the speed limit isn’t just good for cyclers, “it’s also good for children, pedestrians, old people and kids on skateboards.”

This was the 12th annual National Bike to Work Day for Louisville. During the rest of the month, the Louisville Bike Club is giving free bicycle education classes.