|Lyon, France bicycle data|
Whether tis nobler to suffer the slings and arrows of errant drivers or...
Okay, enough w/ the bad Shakespeare.
I'm loving the current dialogue that is happening in the blogosphere regarding the role of bicycling in the overall transportation infrastructure. It was first brought to my attention thanks to a recumbent blog post entitled "Interested but Concerned." (Thanks Rob)
That particular post discusses four levels of cyclists who range from "strong & fearless" to "no way, now how." I was pleased to see that strong & fearless was the least representative group. The reason I was glad to see this is that among cyclists "strong & fearless" often equates to a lack of common sense. If you are riding on the roads, and you are fearless, then you are out of touch w/ reality. There is a good reason for you to be somewhat fearful when it comes to riding your bike on the street. It's not that the drivers are out to get you; it is that many of them do not do much to avoid you. Let's face it; you are way under their radar most of the other time. Especially when they have a few other things to distract them like: kids, cell phones, applying make-up, other cars, traffic signals, changing radio stations, eating tacos, talking to passengers, resetting their GPS... well you get the picture. (I hope.)
I don't need to tell you where I'm going with this. There's one surefire, safe, and common-sense solution, and it's not bike lanes, or more road rules, or biker/driver education. Sure, those things will help and shouldn't be abandoned. But the true answer is bike paths, pedestrian trails, rail-trails, multi-use paths, etc. They are good for cyclists, good for pedestrians, good for the environment, good for recreation, good for traffic mitigation, good for health, good for families, good for the community... just plain good... nay great!!
Let me step down off my soap box to give you a few of the links I discovered when researching this topic:
- recumbent blog
- streets blog
- Portland Online
- Walkbike Jersey
- Commute by Bike (This one includes interesting info about a bikeshare study in Lyon, France.)