By Tyler Falk
Posting in Cities
See what cities across the U.S. are doing to improve bicycling infrastructure, and how it's paying off.
Cities all over the U.S. are investing more in bicycle infrastructure and it's paying off. This new video from Streetfilms looks at what cities are doing to improve bicycling infrastructure, and why they are successful at getting their biking community to flourish.
Portland Mayor Sam Adams says his city didn't just become the "bicycling capitol of America" overnight.
For the equivalent cost of a single mile of freeway, we now have a bike infrastructure. ... Today our daily bike count is about 17,000. From 2,500 to 17,000. And for every mile of improvement we make on the bikeways, we are always surprised at how exponential growth is in terms of bike riderships.
New York City is another city where cycling has been a major focus. Janette Sadik-Khan, the commissioner of the city's department of transportation says that they've see an 66 percent increase in cycling over the last two years, and in the last four years they added 250 miles of bike lanes. But she says New York City is not alone when it comes to cities making an effort to accommodate for bikes. "This is a national movement. This has become a fundamental mainstream form of transportation," she said.
If we're going to continue to grow and thrive, and accommodate the million more people that we're going to have living in New York City by 2030, we can't accommodate those people with cars, we need to accommodate those people through more sustainable forms of transportation.
Watch the video below:
Feb 22, 2011
Bike lanes to be created where they did not exist, etc.. What they did not count on it the local police enforcing the law you mentioned which says, in simple terms, that bikers can use the roads with cars if they obey the same laws. Running a red light is stupid in a car or on a bike. The chances of being killed are higher on a bike making it an incredably stupid act. I have to agree with bb. It is the exception to find a bike rider who stops for red lights. Most of those riders are under 10 years old. I live on a rural road and have ended up behind many mean spirited bikers. In my area they run in packs as if they are training for the Tour deFrance. State law says they are supposed to travel in single file, but I have seen packs of up to 20 bikes deliberatly slow down and block the entire road to prevent cars from passing them. To say bikers cannot be mean sprited or do stupid things is ignorant or shows the biased view of a biker. I am comfortable being both a former biker, until my early 20s and a knee injury, and a current driver and very capable of seeing the issue from both sides.
Paying off? Are you kidding? I pay road taxes for my car in the form of license plate fees and gasoline taxes. Bicycles pay zero road taxes, and it's the exception to find a bicyclist who obeys stop signs and traffic lights. There are two main East-West streets near my house. One is a major boulevard with three lanes each direction and a center median with left-turn cutouts. They added a bicycle lane and narrowed the auto lanes, dangerously so. Now, you are virtually door-handle-to-door-handle, ala the Daytona 500. It's totally ridiculous. In six months I have yet to see a bicycle on this stretch. One used to be a four-lane, two in each direction. Now, there is one lane each direction for cars and one lane each direction for bicycles, and a center left-turn lane. Pulling out of side roads is now much more difficult, as there is only one lane to pull into instead of two. In six months I have seen one bicycle on this road. I live 3 road miles from my office and I have a seven minute commute in my car. I do not ride a bicycle because at 8am it's 85 degrees and at 5pm it's 105 degrees, and I don't wish to arrive at work, or at home, drenched in perspiration. There are no showers at work.
As the comments show, one of the remaining barriers to cycling is ignorant and mean-spirited drivers. Bicycles are vehicles and have the rights and responsibilities of all drivers. There are plenty of cyclists who don't run lights or stop signs, and I have no problem with ticketing those who do - same as with drivers. To Mr/s Hates Idiots: Actually Massachusetts state law gives cyclists the right to the roads. Nobody has to pass a special law to allow them to ride in the street. http://www.massbike.org/resourcesnew/bike-law/
There is enough responsibility to go around for drivers and riders. But the driver in me fears living my life knowing I killed a person because they was stupid enough to run a red light on a bike. Do the bikers who do stupid things ever consider that impact of their actions beyond physical damage? Here is a comparable situation. We had a tragedy this past year in Massachusetts where a pregnant woman was texting on her cell phone and blindly walked off a sidewalk and out on to a secondary highway. She stepped directly in front of a car doing 30 mph and was killed. Doctors fought for hours to save the baby, but it too died. Now that driver has to live with the fact he killed a mother and child. He is still on a suicide watch even though it was clearly not his fault and there was nothing he could have done to avoid her. Is that what you consider nominal damage?
An incompetent bike rider puts himself at risk and nominally to motor vehicle traffic. An incompetent driver puts the bike rider at risk and only nominally to himself. Obeying the law and being respectful of the lives and well being of others is the start.
My experiences on a bike as a child were great. I grew up logging many miles on my bikes. One careless driver who was not watching where they were going as they pulled out of a shopping mall hit me. Other than that I had 18 years of fun. When I started to drive I saw how stupid may bike riders are. I found my riding habits were the exception, not the rule, among adult bike riders. Running red lights and stop signs are the most commons problem in urban / suburban areas. Fortunately I have never hit a person on a bike, but I have nearly killed dozens in 30 years of driving. My keen anticipation of peoples innate stupidity on a bike has kept many a rider alive when they should be dead by their own brainless actions. I will gladly share the road with people on bikes, but dcr100 has a good point. Separate riding areas for bikes are the only long-term solution. If only to protect the bike riders from themselves.
I live in Portland, OR, a suburb of Wash DC, San Fran Mission Dist, and Melbourne, FL at various times. I bike regularly in Portland and it is a great positive experience. San Fran is not bad and Downtown DC mall area is bike friendly as well. Biking in Florida I have been run over by vehicles twice. And hit from behind in the Maryland suburbs of DC. Where the biking infrastructure is well defined and the laws protecting bike riders are strictly enforced, as they are in Portland, bike riding is a pleasant and safe experience.
A group of outsiders pressured the town council of a small town in Massachusetts into passing a law giving bikes the same rights as cars on the towns roads. They passed through the town while riding to work in Boston. They had already extorted similar changes out of other towns on their commute route and wanted this town to toe the line. 2 weeks after the measure was passed the lawyer for the group ran a red light on his bike in front of a police officer. According to the new statute the police pulled over the guy and gave him a verbal warning. They guy laughed it off and proceeded to run the next red light he came to, right in front of the same police officer. After the cop gave him a $100 fine, as set by the new law for not obeying traffic laws as a car would, the same lawyer who led the group pressuring for the law sued the town. Thankfully the judge laughed him out of court after ordering him to pay the fine. The lesson here is to be careful of what you ask for. You may get it.