Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Let City Council Know You Want Safe Roads for All Users

The new bike plan's not just about comfort. It's also about safety. Sharrows, cycle tracks, buffered bike lanes, colored bike lanes - all these road treatments make all road users more aware of each other and make the roads safer.

Today the paper picked up a wire piece on ghost bikes.

Many will recall and still mourn former Salemite Tracy Sparling. Here's her ghost bike at 14th and West Burnside in Portland. (It may not still be there, alas. It's at St. Stephens with the Shrine to Madonna del Ghisallo.)

Here's some talking points:
  • Facilities for walking and biking are cost-effective, considerably cheaper than roadway expansion for cars.
  • Heathcare costs and increasing rates of diabetes and obesity call for increasing daily activity, and Cities should have an interest in encouraging walking and biking for short trips.
  • Our existing transportation system limits choice and enforces dependence on car travel. Citizens of all stripes should want more freedom in transportation choice.
  • People driving cars have recently struck people walking in crosswalks, and the existing system is too often neither safe nor comfortable for people on foot or on bike.
The City Club of Portland is undertaking a study of bicycling, and advocates have created a convenient wiki, "The Case for Cycling." It's a pretty good resource for additional arguments and details.

Here's the City's Bike and Walk Salem site. For three years of notes on the bike plan update, see here.

Notice the reverse lights on the truck in the photo at top. The sharrow helps position a person on bike farther to the center of the lane, not hugging the rear line of parked cars. This aids a person on bike in seeing reverse lights and backing movement of cars, and aids a person in car by keeping a person on bike towards the center of the road and out of blind spots.

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