Monday, September 24, 2007

Hope for Biking in the Burbs

Did anyone see the Oregonian article on September 13th ?
Transit alternatives: progress slow but sure:
Cycling, walking, busing -- all can be tiring or plain dangerous in the suburbs, but that's changing, if ever so gradually

If you were wondering what one person can do, or whether you’re making a difference, give it a look. As conditions get better for biking (and walking, and other alternatives), more people will bike. But those who aren’t waiting are the ones making it happen. The powers that be follow the demand. The demand is measured in bikes on the road. If they see enough of us out there, they eventually have to pay attention.

The article is about people in the car-designed suburbs starting to demand a car-free alternatives as well. Here’s an excerpt.

"We're at a tension point right now," Hill Graves said. Accidents in the suburbs often happen "because drivers aren't used to seeing bicyclists out there," she said. "But more bicyclists are on the road now, and as that happens, the more acclimated drivers will be to seeing them and the safer everyone on the road will be."

Walking and biking have become much safer in Portland since more people began traveling that way, said Greg Raisman, traffic safety specialist at the Community and School Traffic Safety Partnership, a group that includes the city transportation office, pedestrian and bicycle advocates, Portland State University and others.
In fact, as bicycle traffic -- measured over four city bridges -- increased to 12,050 bicyclists a day in 2006 (from 4,520 such trips in 1996), the rate of reported crashes decreased from 17 crashes per million trips to 10 crashes per million trips, Raisman said. And, based on an average number of bikers, bike trips and fuel efficiency, Raisman estimates that bike trips in the city of Portland save it from 166 million pounds of carbon emissions.

Like those numbers? Yay Portland. Go, burbies.


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