Press Release

BALTIMORE, MD (May 9, 2001) — Pedal power will produce cleaner air on Friday, May 11 as area workers participate in Baltimore’s Annual Bike to Work Day event.

The Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE), in conjunction with the Baltimore Metropolitan Council, the Mayor’s Bicycle Advisory Council, and local area businesses are sponsoring this year’s Annual Bike to Work Day on Friday. The annual event helps educate Marylanders about traffic congestion issues and air pollution in the region. By leaving their car at home and cycling to work, Bike to Work Day participants will help clear the air for all of Maryland’s citizens.

The Hard Rock Cafe at Baltimore’s Inner Harbor is hosting a riders’ rally from 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. Several local businesses and attractions, such as Port Discovery and the Baltimore Museum of Art, have donated great prizes to be given away to people who register for the ride.

"It is a simple fact, when people drive less, the air is cleaner," said MDE Secretary Jane T. Nishida. "Motor vehicles and fuels account for almost 50 percent of the air pollutants that contribute to the formation of ground level ozone, also known as smog. Bicycle commuting is an excellent way to help us all breathe easier."

Relatively low amounts of ozone can cause chest pain, coughing, nausea, throat irritation, and congestion. It may also worsen bronchitis, heart disease, emphysema, and asthma.

There is no reliable way to forecast how many bad air days the area will experience this summer. It is early May, and already the Baltimore area has had several "Code Yellow" days, which means the air was classified as moderately unhealthy.

Under the MDE’s Air Quality Forecast Scale, on "Code Yellow" days, individuals are asked to consolidate trips and errands, limit idling, and, when possible, carpool or use mass transit. As we move from Code Yellow to Code Orange to Code Red, the recommendations not only concern ways to help reduce the formation of ground level ozone, but all include actions individuals should take to protect their health.

To get the latest air quality forecast and learn more about Maryland’s air quality monitoring programs, go to MDE’s website at: or call (410) 631-3247.

For more information about Bike to Work Day or to sign up, please contact:

  • Penny Troutner, Chair, Mayor’s Bicycle Advisory Council: (410) 685-2234
  • Bob Moore, Baltimore Bicycle Club: (410) 435-6623
  • Barry Bergman, Baltimore Metropolitan Council: (410) 732-0500
  • Bob Maddox or Reider White, Maryland Department of the Environment: (410) 631-3265