Thursday, December 20, 2012

Bike-Friendly Role Models

Though several cities in Arkansas claim to be bike-friendly and even have signs to prove it, anyone who has traveled much or lived elsewhere knows we have a long ways to go. I once read an article that ranked the Little Rock/North Little Rock metropolitan area as the 49th most bike friendly city in America. My excitement at this statistic quickly dwindled after the author explained that in reality the top 50 were mostly in California and Oregon, but he wanted to cover more of the country.

So what is an Arkansan to do if they want more bike trails, protected bike lanes, a bike share, and more bike parking?

1. Get active in the bike community.  Join Bicycle Advocacy of Central Arkansas (BACA) or Bicycle Coalition of the Ozarks (BCO).

2. Be visible.  Bike to work or the grocery store.  Go to city council or other community meetings and let them know you bike and want better bicycle infrastructure.

3.  Talk to your elected representatives at all levels.  Provide them with examples of good transportation bills or bicycle master plans.  Talk about what features other great cities have that ours lack.  Does your town have an official Bicycle or Alternative Transportation Committee?  How about a master plans for bicycles and trails?  Are local laws regarding bikes actually safe?  Ohio passed a state-level bill after finding that roughly half of all communities surveyed mandated one or more unsafe biking practices.

4.  Learn the law and bike safely!

5.  Advocate for zoning and development laws that discourage sprawl, encourage higher density infill, and reflect the values of New Urbanism which create conditions more favorable for biking and decrease the need for car trips.

Examples of good statewide, regional, and local bike plans and laws.
Read what makes some of the best bike cities great.
Learn about the rapid growth (elsewhere) of protected bike lanes and why separate lanes and trails are best.
See what Montreal has in terms of bike infrastructure.
Protected Intersections are a good idea too.

Let me know of any other resources I missed using the comment form below.

Protected Bike Lane - Indianapolis

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