Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Build bike trails

Go to the University of Washington campus and you see bikes everywhere. All of the bike racks are full. Bikes are chained to trees, railings and to each other. There are bikes in front of nearly every building.

Now, go out to Seattle Community College sites or even the Seattle University campus and you see really very few bikes. Colleges have largely the same demographic no matter what. They are populated by young people with limited incomes—Perfect Bike Riding demographic. So why all the bikes at the University of Washington and so few at the other colleges?

The answer is the Burke-Gilman Bike Trail. The U has a safe, separated and segregated bike trail and the other campuses have none.

A city will never have many bike riders until you can provide a safe and separated bike trail. They need to be several miles long, they need to go where you want to go and they need to be safe. Then you need to start connecting the trails into a system.

Painting lines and signs on the road is a cruel hoax telling people that it is safe to ride in the street. Build separate and safe trails or nothing at all. Better to be honest and just tell bikers “you’re riding in the streets and good luck to you” rather then thinking a line on the pavement is going to stop a one ton car from crushing you like a squirrel crossing the street.

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