Last week a few of us road up to Schenectady to attend a presentation on bicycle advocacy and infrastructure in Portland, Oregon given by the former Bicycle Program Manager Mia Birk. Her talk was inspiring. She talked about advocacy. She talked about infrastructure. She talked about people. All this really hit home for us as it seemed like she was saying, “This is what you need to do. Now do it!”
There are many things you need to build a bikable city. These being money, political support, volunteers, etc., but as she pointed out, and as we have seen from San Francisco, the majority of people won’t start riding until the infrastructure is in place. The segment of people that want to ride on the road is much smaller than those that would ride in a bike lane. That is why they are so important. It’s not because they prevent crashes. It’s because they give people some comfort when using them and encourage them to get out on a bike. We have seen time and time again that when more bicyclists are on the road accidents rates decrease.