Transportation Secretary Bikes 2 Miles to Work; ‘Saved Us Some Money’ on Gas

By Susan Jones | June 6, 2011 | 11:27 AM EDT

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood gathers with other DOT workers on the grounds of the Washington Monument to ride his bicycle to work on Monday, June 6, 2011. (Photo courtesy Julie Fischer McCarter, DOT)

( – On a sunny Monday morning in Washington, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood biked a short distance to work, calling it a "successful commute."

LaHood, accompanied by some DOT staffers, rode his bicycle from the Washington Monument to DOT headquarters, a distance of a little over two miles.

“The route was safe and well-marked; we enjoyed some exercise; and we didn't burn a drop of gas--which saved us some money,” LaHood wrote on his DOT “Fastlane” blog.

LaHood, an advocate of “non-motorized transportation,” also put in a plug for building more bicycle lanes as well as transit and rail facilities, something that creates jobs, he said. “And we know that businesses will pop up where streets are friendly to bicyclists and pedestrians,” he blogged.

LaHood declared Washington to be a “bike-friendly city,” and he touted DOT’s role in making it that way: “For example, we helped fund development of Capital Bikeshare, a program that makes more than 1,100 bikes available to its members throughout DC and Arlington (Virginia).  People can hop on a bike at one station and drop it at another.  With 110 stations at transit stops, grocery stores, office buildings, and more, it's a very convenient way to get around.”

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood bikes to DOT headquarters in Washington on Monday, June 6, 2011. (Photo courtesy Julie Fischer McCarter, DOT)

In March 2010, LaHood announced that federal transportation policies would no longer favor “motorized” transportation, such as cars and trucks, over “non-motorized” transportation, such as walking and bicycling. (See earlier story)

LaHood signed the new policy directive on March 11, the same day he attended a congressional reception for the National Bike Summit, a convention sponsored by a bicycling advocacy group, the League of American Bicyclists.

LaHood mentioned the League of American Bicyclists on Monday, saying the group recently recognized Washington’s bike-friendly reputation with its “Silver award.”

“In fact,” LaHood said, “there's an informal race on the East Coast to see which large city can be first to achieve the Gold award.  When we have cities competing to be acknowledged for their livability, that tells me things are going in the right direction.”