Wednesday, July 7, 2010

I'm All For That

From Slate's Nimble Cities project, we have an interesting piece stating the case for creating facilities for cyclists that are separate from vehicle traffic.

While the school of so-called "vehicular cycling" argues that cycles should be treated as cars and share the roads, this philosophy seems to be the result of (primarily American) cyclists adapting by necessity to their harsh surroundings rather than the sound basis of a widespread transportation shift. In the world's top cycling cities, one finds not muscular riders harried and buffeted by passing cars, but all manner of people—young, old, carrying groceries, carrying kids—riding on networks that have been designed for them.


One thing that seems clear, however, is that cyclist safety tends to improve as there are more cyclists. And the best way to get more cyclists is to make them feel safer. And the way to make them feel safer is, many planners argue, to provide separate facilities.

1 comment:

Not said...

I use separate bicycle facilities where they're available, such as the Centennial Trail and the Fish Lake Trail. However, there are several drawbacks to building these trails around Spokane.

1. Intersections. If I'm riding on an arterial, I usually have the right of way over intersecting roads, which is a safety advantage. Because cyclists are second class citizens here, cycle facilities will rarely have priority. (See our Fish Lake Trail, or Seattle's Burke Gilman Trail.)

2. Ridiculous 15 MPH speed limit. I'm old and slow, and I ride about 14 MPH - on a level road with no wind. If there's a tailwind or a downhill section, I ride much faster.

3. Maintenance. We like to build things, but we refuse to keep them in good shape. Notice how bumpy some sections of the Fish Lake Trail and the Centennial Trail are. When will those sections be repaved? Probably never. Plowing, mowing, and trash cleanup will rarely occur.

The real problem is that car drivers keep killing and maiming people - people in other cars, pedestrians, bicyclists, even their own passengers.
- Ventura