I have several guy friends who drive SUVs and think bicyclists should get out of their way. They hate bike lanes. They hate bike boxes. They hate sharrows. They think they’re a waste of money and make it harder for drivers to get around town. One thinks government shouldn’t install bike infrastructure until huge numbers of commuters hop on two wheels. Another thinks putting in bike lanes in a snowy city is dumb. In short, these guys think they own the road.
First, many people, particularly women, want to ride bikes but won’t because they don’t think it’s safe. Installing bike lanes and trails would encourage them to try out cycling.
Second, there are good reasons to encourage bicycle use. It’s good for exercise. It relieves traffic congestion. It means less wear and tear on the roads. It means less pollution. It means fewer parking spaces are needed. It means more people on the streets who could easily patronize businesses and create foot traffic.
Third, bicyclists do pay for roads. Many of them also own cars. Many of them pay state and federal taxes, as well as property taxes. Do you think drivers cover the entire cost of maintaining roads, highways, bridges and parking garages? They do not. Everyone pays for driving infrastructure.
Fourth, some of the cities with high rates of bicycle commuters are cold and snowy.
A report by U.S. PIRG found the Rochester urbanized area (defined by census as roughly Monroe County) had the 8th highest rate of growth of bicycle commuters in the country between 2000 and 2007-11. The increase in bicycle commuters was .4 percent, which sounds small, but that’s more than 1,000 extra cyclists.
The report also found a 7.5 percent decline in vehicle miles driven by Rochesterians between 2006 and 2011. There was a 37 percent increase in the number of miles we traveled on public transit. There was a 1 percent decline in the number of people who got to work by car. There was a 1 percent increase in the number of households with more vehicle. There was a three percent drop in households with two or more cars.
Whether you bike or not, the practice benefits all of us. The same goes for walking and public transit. Think about that the next time you don’t want to share the road.
(One other thing – every time I talk about the importance of bike lanes, people ask me if I bike. I do not, but I plan to one day. I just don’t know why I have to personally engage in cycling to think it’s a worthwhile investment. I don’t like jogging, but I think joggers are terrific and entitled to use the sidewalk.)
Links of the Day:
– New York prisons are taking over the responsibility of caring for the mentally ill.
– At the Auburn Correctional Facility, inmates crochet things for needy kids.
– The D&C’s Nestor Ramos tells the Sheriff to find another job if he doesn’t like his salary. (Isn’t that what conservatives tell those making minimum wage?)
– “If there were a chutzpah caucus in the United States Senate, Kirsten Gillibrand of New York would be its natural leader.”
– Should the U.S. and Canada eliminate their border?
– Women find having a stay-at-home husband helps them get ahead on Wall Street.
– Los Angeles television stations go insane over a “bitter blast of cold.” It was 50 degrees. This makes TV news look vapid and silly.
Tweet of the Day:
Being conservative, I've lost 3 full weeks of my life watching Bills since last playoff. Multiply by 10s of thousands, we have class-action.
— Gary Craig (@gcraig1) December 8, 2013