The State of Cycling

Cycling in San Francisco is such a hot button issue. Drivers can’t stand cyclists.Cyclists get in the way of pedestrians. Pedestrians don’t know what a sidewalk is. CATS AND DOGS, people!

But it really doesn’t have to be this way. While overseas I grew to really appreciate how everyone shared the road. What I saw? Separated lanes for everyone that was clear, simple and easy to navigate. Bike lanes built into the sidewalks, colored and separated from the road by a median. I enjoyed cycling more, I was less afraid. The drivers seemed nicer, more respectful maybe? When I fell down onto the icy streets in Paris, people rushed out to help me. Drivers stopped.

WOW.

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BTW, I survived. Didn’t want to keep you in suspense. ;p

If you’re the mayor of a European city and you don’t have a good bike program – Good luck getting re-elected! In Copenhagen over half of the commuters now use bikes to get to work. Barcelona, London, Rome – everyone has bike programs and more importantly better lanes to make the roads safe for bicyclists AND drivers.

Making a city bike friendly isn’t just about adding extra lanes, it’s also a discussion on sociology. Changing attitudes is a larger battle for another day. So instead, here is what I propose!

  •  If San Francisco can add sitting areas that jut out into the road, then surely they could remodel the roadways to put in protected bike paths. Maybe not all protected, but clearly separated and safer bike and walking paths. If older cities like Rome and Barcelona can do it, I know we can too!
  • Start thinking of bicycling as a sensible option for transportation, not just a hobby. It’s not just for weekends at the park.
  • Remodel the bike lanes to suit commuters, not pro-athletes.You would hate me on a bike. I’m a slow rider. But I still want to ride! I also don’t want to sweat much. Not going into work anyway.

I’m a pedestrian. The lowest on the totem pole. I neither drive or cycle enough to be in either group, but I enjoy the privileges of both and I just think there has got to be a better way to share the roads.

-Sincerely

The slowest biker, poorest driver, fastest walker you’ll ever meet