Mostly things seem like they're getting better, but here's a gem plucked out of the paper's archives that suggests the opposite interpretation - back then in some ways things might have been a lot better for biking in Salem!
How many of you would be confident leading a ride with a bunch of 12 year-olds along that route or any parallel nearby? North of State Street there is a primitive network of lower-traffic neighborhood streets (not yet upgraded to full bike boulevard facilities), but crossing Market, Center, and State Streets requires care. South of State Street is busy and difficult.
The lack of urgency behind helmets as well as the City sponsorship is also remarkable.
Much of this is cultural. In 1983 there were fewer bike lanes, no bike lights or buffers, less bike-specific infrastructure all the way around. There were also fewer cars, less driving, calmer streets generally, more walking and biking to school, and the bloom was not yet fully off the 1970s bike boom. There might have been broader support, actually, for biking then.
Glad the clip came to light. That's an interesting artifact!
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