I spent the last couple of days at the Delaware shore with S., and although I brought Brompty with us, I mostly just sat myself down on the beach and stayed put, once the rain cleared. Today I was back at home gearing up for the first day of school on Wednesday. I’m sad to see summer end, but I’m happy to be getting back to a routine, even if it does leave less time for bicycling aimlessly about. After finishing up a little of this and heading out for my appointment for that it was time to hop on the bike and head down the hill for a spin at the gym and some grocery shopping like the stereotypical thirtysomething working professional I am. Rather than take the terrible bike lane on President to get home in afternoon traffic, I headed to Central–less traffic and still a bike lane. Sort of. I took this on Central between Pratt and Eastern. That’s the bike lane, that broken brick path just the other side of the lane with the patched hole in it. The bike lane. Sometimes I worry that in our dream of having bike infrastructure, we’re just taking whatever we can get, even when it might even make us less safe. Take, for example, that “bike lane” on President. It’s something, but it takes bicyclists over grates, holes, and asphalt mounds. Half of it is in the gutter. Because I’m technically in the lane, cars pull past me even faster and closer. So, yes t bike infrastructure, no, maybe, to take what we can get. Oh, and YES to C.M.’s suggestion that rather than blaming individual drivers and cyclists, how’s about we design roads to calm traffic to make all of us safer. The consequences are deadly.
I ride on Central all the time. NOT in that bike lane (which is usually full of trucks in addition to cobblestones and patches). Fortunately in a way, the road is also dramatically overbuilt so there’s plenty of space outside the bike lane. Another good thing is that section of Central ave is going to be overhauled soon. There’s a public meeting about it in September. I’ll get back to you with the exact date.
As for the bigger picture, we need a dramatic cultural shift encompassing both engineering and behavior. The two go hand-in-hand. Citizens who believe traffic safety for all matters will both drive better and hold their city/county/state transportation department to higher standards. As it is now, Americans accept traffic carnage and inaccessibility for all but car drivers as a cost of doing business.
Well said, Heather. Thank you.
Sorry, had to post as 2 comments because my phone was being crotchety…
Case in point, a student was hit by a car and critically injured on his way to Woodlawn High School this morning. Police quickly ruled the cause “pedestrian error” without even noting the absence of sidewalks even though the street was a route to school for many children. The whole story was wiped out of news cycles by the Perry Hall shooting, the rain delay at the GOP convention, and even Billy Cundiff getting fired. We need to find a way to get people to take transportation issues seriously on every level. After all, we spend about 30% of our income and 12% of our waking hours on it.