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”.
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
There are many 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.