Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Nod for Bike-Friendliness Surprises City and Cyclists; Cyclists Agree That While Jacksonville Has Improved, There's Still a Long Way to Go

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Nod for Bike-Friendliness Surprises City and Cyclists; Cyclists Agree That While Jacksonville Has Improved, There's Still a Long Way to Go

Article excerpt

Byline: LARRY HANNAN

James Reed has heard all the criticism of cycling in Jacksonville.

There are no bike lanes. Motorists seem willing to run you over. People throw things at cyclists.

There is validity in all of those criticisms, concedes Reed, a city planner who is also the city's bike coordinator.

"One of the biggest issues we have to deal with is the perception that cycling is terrible," he said. "I've had people throw sodas at me, so I understand where they're coming from."

But Reed, an avid cyclist himself, argues that it's unfair to take a completely negative view of cycling in Jacksonville. His desire to focus on the positive was recently bolstered by the League of American Bicyclists awarding Jacksonville an honorable mention in its list of 2009 Bicycle Friendly Communities.

Meghan Cahill, spokeswoman for the League of American Bicyclists, said the award does not imply that bicycling is good in Jacksonville.

"An honorable mention means that a city has potential and is putting out an effort to be more bike-friendly," Cahill said. "It's our way of telling them to keep up the good work."

The honorable mention surprised many local cycling enthusiasts.

"I don't think it's deserved," said Matt Uhrig. He founded BikeJax.org, a Web site with a mission to establish Jacksonville as a cycling-friendly city.

The League of American Bicyclists lists a lot of little things, like bicycles on public buses, the annual bike to work day, and the city's proclamation in support of cycling. But the truth is that Jacksonville lags behind most American cities when it comes to bike accessibility, Uhrig said.

Phil Foreman, co-owner of Champion Cycling, which has stores in Arlington, Mandarin and Jacksonville Beach, said the honorable mention puzzled him.

"It's certainly true that it's gotten better in the last few years," he said. "But compared to other communities, we are still way behind."

But Jim McDonald, store manager of Champion Cycling in Mandarin, said the honorable mention is justified. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.