Tuesday, June 19, 2007

“What are the three aspects of your community most in need of improvement in order to accommodate bicyclists”.

Kent Ralston, Assistant Transportation Planner for Iowa City asked me my opinion on, “What are the three aspects of your community most in need of improvement in order to accommodate bicyclists” in relation to the Bicycle Friendly Community application he is filling our for Iowa City.

Here's my response:
1) Engender a community-wide culture of respect for bicyclists and pedestrians through programs of education of rights and responsibilities for cyclists, police officers, and the general public; and increased enforcement of related laws, ie. lights on bicycles, failure to yeild to peds and cyclists, etc. Some of this could be done through soft enforcement, ie giving of lights to nighttime cyclist riding without lighting etc.
2) Survey citizens to find what are the barriers they preceive to using a bicycle for their regular transportation needs and address these issues.
3) Set concrete, measurable goals for improving cycling in Iowa City.

4) bonus Improve safety of I-80 crossings at Dubuque St, Dodge St. and Hoover Highway.

What would be yours?

4 comments:

Mark Wyatt said...

1. On street bicycling accommodations.
2. Education - especially college population, but confirm with crash stats.
3. Arterial and heavy traffic roads.

Cody G. said...

Education, education, education!!

Education absolutely needs to extend to motorists. The IDOT driver's exam is lackluster in the consideration of multiple users of our roadways. Driver's ed classes need to bolster curriculum regarding cyclists and pedestrians.

Also, if the City is serious about this, how about some public service announcements? Television and radio spots can quickly inform people about the rights of cyclists and provide reminders that we're people, too! (Not arrogant hedonists like Sen. Putney once claimed.)

More visual cues like the Share the Road signs would be great. Bike lanes not only add pathways but also serve as visual reminders to motorists that cyclists are present. (Since the downtown area has sooo many parking garages, it's a good time to take out the on-street parking and add bike lanes.)

I got a bunch more, but I bet I'm not the only one!

Anonymous said...

1. Have a good long talk with your police officers, and those of UI, to change their negative attitude towards bicyclists. Repeat as necessary.

2. Adopt or establish standards for bicycle parking, including size and design of racks and access from streets. Pass an ordinance that requires all new housing and commercial developments and major reconstructions of existing ones to include a certain number of parking spaces for bicycles, depending on number of dwellings, commercial space, etc.

3. In the winter, don't plow snow from roads on bicycle racks, sidewalks and other places that bicycles and pedestrians use.

4. Talk to your police officers again. Put them through a seminar. Make them ride bicycles around the city.

owen f said...

Education, agreed. Yes, more of it in driver's ed classes. More share the road questions on the tests (can't hurt, don't know if it helps).

Also though, education of bike riders. I did 2 years as a NYC bike messenger, so maybe i have a lunatic slant on it, but a passive bike rider is a danger to him/herself. Teach new riders to not expect respect. Half the time when I am courteous to a car driver, I wind up regretting it as they cut me off making a sudden dash for the curb. Be aware that if you ride close to parked cars, you may well get "doored". At a crosswalk, look under the bumper of parked trucks for pedestrian's feet -- they can't see you. When it starts to rain, ppl will run into the street without looking, trying to get where the are going before their hair gets ruined ( I have 20 stitches in my face from learning this one ). Ride as if you are invisible and be aggressive -- actually, by being aggressive who have a better chance of competing for the car drivers attention.

I'm sure there are other things -- but other biker's have more suggestions.