Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Bike Month Is Every Month

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Bike Month Is Every Month

Article excerpt

May is National Bike Month, a time to celebrate the most efficient mode of personal transportation ever devised and promote its beneficial societal use year-round.

Recently there has been a resurgence in bicycling, prompting recreational trails development and bicycle lane striping, in which Great Rivers Greenway plays a major role locally. Yet, despite these efforts, less than 1 percent of Americans choose bicycling for transportation, compared to a European country like Holland (26 percent of all trips). Part of the problem is that America is car- centric, but in urban and suburban areas, a bicycle is still often an option for shorter trips.

Andrew Cline and I examined this in a peer-reviewed paper titled "Promoting Equality through Bicycling Education in the United States," published in the January 2016 Institute of Transportation Engineers journal. Of note is that the Dutch stress bicycle education from an early age, and not just constructing bike facilities.

Mighk Wilson, American Bicycling Education Association executive director, has said that cyclists need to know how to ride safely on- road no matter what transportation engineers design. A unique opportunity to learn more will be ABEA's Bicycling Education Conference in St. Louis, Oct. 14-16.

Maximizing bicyclist safety in the U.S. means, among other things, eliminating laws that discriminate against cyclists, something which my own city of Ferguson was first in Missouri to address. In 2012, Ferguson repealed its ordinance, based on Missouri state law, referred to as the "Far to the right" law, which generally required cyclists to ride as far right as safe.

The new Ferguson ordinance now permits a cyclist to control the curb lane on four-lane Florissant Road, for example, to maximize safety. "Bikes may use full lane" signs, and on-road "sharrows" (officially called shared lane markings) alert motorists to this new regulation.

It may be counterintuitive, but riding far to the right actually increases crash risk, one cause being right-turning motorists. Signage like Ferguson's encourages lane control and cooperative behavior. …

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