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Bicyclist   The Greeley Bike Blog

“The bicycle is the most civilized conveyance known to man. Other forms of transport grow daily more nightmarish. Only the bicycle remains pure in heart”. ~Iris Murdoch

Each day, I see new examples of the growing demand for a mainstream transportation culture where bicycles are a normal, accepted, and vital part of the mix. But we still have a long way to go.

For North America to accept and integrate bicycle use into our transportation systems it is important to understand what is standing in the way. First, we are faced with a biased mainstream attitude portrayal of cycling. Second, we are faced with politicians pandering to people in their cars who are far too hesitant to take the aggressive steps needed to build a complete network of safe bicycle infrastructure. Third, we are faced with a bicycle industry that continues to push the agenda (and products) that cycling is merely a sport or a hobby.

There are many in our society that portray “cyclists” as a homogeneous group of lawbreakers who must attain an unrealistic, ideal behavior before being granted designated room on our streets. Many studies have found that cyclists actually do obey traffic laws. Cyclists are not just a bunch of “scofflaws” that ride about ignoring the rules of the road. Who hasn’t seen a motor vehicle roll through a stop sign, run a red light, turn without signaling and so on. When looking at the big picture, most travelers, whether in a car or on a bike, obey the traffic laws. A recent study conducted by Portland State University found 94% of riders obey traffic lights.

Bicyclists should not be held to a higher standard in order to enjoy there space on the road. Too many politicians and community leaders have yet to understand that creating safe bike infrastructure requires building a complete network as well as altering laws to favor travel by bike, foot, and transit. There is a glimmer of hope in many cities across the country, but elsewhere change is too slow, too small, and often completely non-existent. Forcing riders to compromise their safety in order to share space on our streets with drivers will never lead to civilized cycling.

For potential and existing riders, the bike industry has yet to deliver quality bikes and accessories that cater to people using their bicycles for transportation. In Europe, a majority of bicycles on the street come fully equipped for daily use. There, major brands like Giant and Raleigh provide bicycles off the shelf with lights, fenders, chain guards, kickstands, and racks. Yet in North America there seems to be little movement within the industry to even recognize this segment of the market. It is getting better, but again, change is slow.

Despite these dominant societal forces working against us, there are changes (many within the past three years) that give us hope. Strong political leadership in many cities is bringing about change for the bicycling community. New bike lanes and programs are popping up across the country. Greeley is on the cusp of creating a wonderful bike culture. New bike lanes, programs, and events are occurring and the city has the enthusiastic staff to help move the needle in creating a more robust bike culture.

Do you want to help? Start riding a bike a little more often.

Also, the efforts to develop the Greeley Master Bicycle Plan are underway.  Please go to www.greeleybikemasterplan.com to see how you can participate.

Pedal On!!!

Eric     Bronze Bike Plaque