I’ve lived in Denton for ten years, and I can’t ever remember seeing so many cyclists around town here. Not only that, I’ve even seen some with helmets, lights, racks, fenders, hand signals.
Am I alone in thinking that ridership here is at an all time high?
Here’s how I think it could help:
- more bike lanes
- restriped existing bike lanes
- more bike racks
- pressure for riding safety courses
- improved driver awareness/sensitivity
- less traffic congestion
- healthier citizens
- local business foot/bike traffic increases
I don’t have any Denton statistics, but this Christian Science Monitor article is encouraging:
The trend slips under the radar of national data, but phone calls to various city governments reveals a strong uptick in bike commuting this year:
• Bike count tallies showed an increase of 30 percent over last year on San Francisco’s Market Street, 44 percent over 2006 levels at the intersection of Broad and Chestnut Streets in Philadelphia, and 378 percent from five years ago on Milwaukee Ave. in Chicago.
• New bikers are maxing out the capacity of transit systems across the country. Bikers boarding buses in Houston rose from 1,510 in April to 3,624 in June, according to the League of American Bicyclists, which also reports that Charlotte’s bike-on-bus boardings have reached an all-time record, surging 30 percent this June from a year ago. On San Francisco’s regional CalTrain, a quarter of rush hour trains surveyed in September “bumped” bikers because onboard racks had reached capacity.
• In Denver, this year’s ‘Bike to Work Day’ drew 35,000 bikers, up 43 percent over last year.
High gas prices are changing transportation habits. For eight straight months, Americans have driven fewer miles than they did over the same period a year earlier, according to the US Department of Transportation.
But don’t think this is a complete turnaround just yet:
The latest US census figures from 2006 offer perspective: Only one half of one percent of Americans commuted by bike.
But the rise, even if it’s a small number, is affecting cities in everything from transportation funding to traffic safety.
Good news from the Fed:
Congress, meanwhile, is considering a bike commuter act that would permit tax deductions like those for public transit riders.
Hopefully we’ll see some safety courses like this in Denton:
The rush of newbies has triggered tensions with drivers unaccustomed to sharing the road, and driven cyclists to seek out traffic training.
“I’m getting hammered by mayors asking, ‘What are you doing about all these new bikers on the street and nobody knows the rules of the road?’ ” says Robert Raburn, executive director of the East Bay Bicycle Coalition in Oakland. When the organization started classes in 2003, it offered maybe two a year. Now, it has six slated for September with two more to be announced.