Friday, July 20, 2007

100 ideas theme...

Here's more on the 100 ideas theme. These are from Commute By Bike, originally posted by Fritz, and including some comments appended at the end.

  • Signage: “Cyclists allowed use of full lane”. For examples around the United States see this page. I see these all over the place in San Francisco, and cyclists do indeed use the full lane in many locations. I believe these are much clearer than the ambiguous “Share The Road” signs. Motorists complain that when cyclists take the lane, the cyclist is not “sharing” the road.
  • Effective bike education in schools. When the state of Colorado opened up “Safe Routes to Schools” funding for 2006, communities requested $6 million for infrastructure programs — things like bike paths and bike lanes — and half a million for non-infrastructure programs such as educational and promotional activities. My former hometown of Longmont, Colorado received one of non-infrastructure grants, and Bicycle Longmont, the city of Longmont, and the St. Vrain School district made very effective use of their small grant. The money paid for overtime for teachers to take bicycling education, for the two LCIs in Longmont to provide the instruction to the teachers and children, and for promotional material and prizes for elementary and middle school children to take part in the Safe Routes program. Of the five Longmont elementary schools that take part, three of them have the highest walk/bike rates in the United States. “Prior to Safe Routes to School, our parent survey showed that 189 students were getting driven to school each day, some from closer than a quarter-mile away,” says Safe Routes coordinator Buzz Feldman of Columbine Elementary. “After the program began, the number of cars dropped to around 30 cars per day.”
  • Sharrows. Sharrows or “shared use arrows” are a symbol of a bike with two chevrons over it. These are painted on the streets to remind motorists and cyclists that bicyclists may position themselves anywhere in the lane for safety. These were pioneered in Denver, Colorado. In California, these are approved statewide for use on streets that have on-street parallel parking, and that are too narrow to accommodate
    full bike lanes. The San Francisco Bike Program is to be thanked for over two years of studies and lobbying the state to adopt a sharrow standard.

What are some things you’ve seen in your community that improve conditions for cycling or encourage people to ride a bike?

4 Responses to “Ideas to promote cycling”

  1. 1 huphtur

    * Public Service Announcements on TV (preferably by Mayor, Chief of Police) to let people know that bikes belong on the road and not on the sidewalk.
    * Police need to start handing out tickets to people who ride bikes on the sidewalk.

  2. 2 James Fellrath

    This summer, Columbus started providing bike corrals for parking at our series of downtown festivals.

    This calls attention to the idea that bikes can be ridden downtown instead of driving cars. It also keeps the bikes out of the way of harm and/or theft, and also keeps them centrally located and not chained to everything in sight due to a dearth of bike racks.

  3. 3 Richard


    In some states it is not against the law to ride on the sidewalk, and due to the lack of information goven to motorists it is sometimes the only sane place to ride. Texas is one such state, and there are some roads in Collin county that, unfortunately, you would be insane to ride on without hopping on the sidewalk.

  4. 4 Ed W

    Thanks for the plug, Fritz! Actually, I got it from where the state is soliciting idea to improve Oklahoma. There’s a name for these idea-spawning exercises but it escapes me just now. Regardless, there are no bad ideas or stupid ideas when you’re doing something like this, because even an idiotic one can provide the spark for someone’s better idea. And if you’ve read CycleDog, you’ll know that I’m hardly afraid of idiotic ideas!

Of course, I have a few more ideas to add, and I'll likely return to this theme as more ideas pop out of my bottomless coffee cup.

I'd like to see employers entice their personnel to use bicycles for daily transportation by offering small cash incentives. If healthier employees make use of health insurance less frequently, companies save money, some of which should go back to those employees.

Some cities are looking at tax incentives for businesses that have a portion of their employees commute by bike.

Promote Route 66 as a cross-state cycling route, along with the old alignment of US40, the Joad Road as written about by Jim Foreman. The idea of using the old highways that often run parallel to modern interstates has some appeal since they're usually lightly traveled.

What about the Lincoln Highway - US30? Michael Wallis' new book may promote the Lincoln Highway just as he's promoted tourism along Route 66. And this holds a special interest for me since my old home town, Irwin, Pennsylvania, is along US30.

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