Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Bicycling in Baltimore: Will it get better?

I want to be excited by the news that Baltimore leaders are trying to make this a more attractive city to those who might be considering moving here, and I really want to get excited at the prospect of riding my bike around town to do errands and not get run off the road by angry motorists. The rest of the world includes bicycles in their transportation planning, because they have to. Do we have to wait until we are as congested as Vietnam or China, for example, before we decide that maybe bikes deserve to be on the road, too?

But some of the comments at the story in the Baltimore Sun, really have me wondering what is wrong with people. Bicycles should be banned? Cyclists should be Tased, maced, and clotheslined?

Baltimore City Council passes Cyclists' Bill of Rights

The most sensible comment I've heard in a long time is from the person who notes that motorists who complain that bicyclists don't obey the law are simply not aware of the majority of bicyclists who are doing just that. It's only the errant cyclist -- the one cuts you off/ runs a red light/ zooms past pedestrians on the sidewalk, etc., etc. -- that's the one who becomes your idea of a bicyclist. Most bicyclists are very safe because they are well aware of the huge disparity of weight between them and you, barreling down on them in your SUV. (Full disclosure here: I have an SUV as well as a bike.)

If you agree with me that there's too much traffic on the roads, think about how much it would help if some of those cars were replaced by bikes. I think it would make a tremendous impact. Here's what the City Council Resolution calls for:
  • equal access to city streets
  • greater involvement in planning by bicyclists
  • greater awareness of bicyclists' rights in accident cases
  • improved bike parking and mass transit access for bicycles
 I think we can live with that. What do you think?

image: Jean-Marie Hullot

2 comments:

Nate said...

Couldn't agree with you more! There's no shortage of opportunities to make our city more bike friendly. Bike lanes and bike racks are cheap! We just need more people demanding bike improvements to their elected and unelected officials!

Sue J said...

Nate, thanks for stopping by! If anyone is interested, Nate has a listing over at his own blog of the actual wording of the Cyclists' Bill of Rights:

Bike Baltimore