Advocating Bike Facilities

How Advocating Bike Facilities Can Have a Large Impact

“Perhaps the greatest potential for change lies with the individual cyclist,” writes Marcia Lowe. “Pressing employers and local authorities to provide cycling facilities-and simply using bicycles whenever possible-can have a great impact.” Advocate better bicycle facilities first by biking. Just seeing someone else on a bike can open people’s eyes to cycling’s possibilities and practicalities, especially if he bike is unique and shows the variety of things that can be done on two wheels. People frequently ask me about my bike trailer when I pedal it into town, and my spouse catches eyes with his recumbent bike. Seeing such things can open more minds to biking and ultimately help to get better consideration of bikes in political decisions. Let business, civic, and political leaders know that you cycle, and encourage bike friendly planning and more support for bikes. Find out who makes decisions about building bicycle facilities in your community and contact them. Let the road commission or public works department know if you spot dangerous potholes along roadside or broken glass in bike lanes. Call the planning department, public works, or the bicycle advisor if you have an idea for improving cycling, like a good place for a bike path or a spot where better land striping may be needed. Among the things you might ask for are:

  • a good bicycle map, if your community doesn’t already have one; the best maps show dedicated bicycle paths, bike lanes, and bike routes along with streets not recommended for biking, and include basic biking information like local bike laws, major bike parking locations, bike repair shop locations, and bike group/agency contact information;
  • interconnections to link up and dead-ends in the system of bike routes and lanes;
  • secure and weather-protected bike parking, such as racks under overhands or bike lockers at transit stops or in parking garages. Let storeowners know you come by bike and, if they have a good bike rack close to the door, thank them for it. If they don’t tell them how much a good bike rack would encourage you to keep coming back;
  • sensors at traffic lights that will trip signals for cyclists, or even signals especially for cyclists, as are used in various places in Europe;
  • bike lanes distinguished by red or blue pavement. This is a technique widely used in European countries like Denmark and Holland;
  • showers at major transit stations, as are found in many airports and at workplaces;
  • bike racks on buses, space for bikes on trains, and bike lockers at transit stations 


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