Friday, April 8, 2011

Spokane Bikes

Bike to Work Week has morphed into Spokane Bikes and that's a good thing, the purpose being to promote cycling in general and not just riding to and from work.

Even though they've seen me bike commuting for over 10 years--and my boss for more than 20 years--most of the people I work with can't picture themselves riding to work. There's too much to disruption to their normal routine. And they think it's dangerous.

"Yes," I tell them, "being on the road is dangerous. Just look at the thousands of people who die every year in vehicle accidents."

A lot of those same people can see themselves riding on the Centennial Trail and maybe on residential streets, but remain generally fearful of traffic. For them cycling is a recreational activity, not a transportation alternative. That's a huge jump for them to make.

So how do we help them make that jump? Complete Streets is a great way. Designing our roadways to safely accommodate all users and not just motor vehicles would encourage more people to walk, ride, etc. Combine that with smart growth management and reclaiming urban sprawl and you've got some great livable communities. But I digress.

I don't know who said it first, but I'm a firm believer that the best way to make roads safer for bicycles is to get more bicycles on the road. So if we could get these occasional recreational riders to get out just a little more, and then a little more, maybe we'll get there, Spokane.

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