Friday, August 14, 2015

Related imageIt is nice to offer rental bicycles in major cities like Boston and New York but how about our politicians create   laws and roads to protect cyclists and pedestrians from harm? People are doing more commuting by bicycle more than ever in this country. It has increased by 60% in the past decade. It probably will keep growing as the population does and if people could only feel safer hopping on a bicycle given the congested roads only two wheels must navigate. You would think the health benefits to exercise, the reduction of auto emissions and just plain quiet would have people pushing more for bicycles as a mode of transportation in America.

In other countries bicycles are welcomed but on our city streets it is part of a war to get ahead on a congested road shared with trucks, busses and cars people too. There are plenty of Go Pro videos on line showing the too aggressive cyclist or the cars and people that get in the way resulting in serious accidents. In Europe there is more respect for the cyclists and not so many dare devils on the roads. So why ride a bike when you have a perfectly good car at home? In the last 3 years alone there has been a 20% increase in bikers killed on American roads. On average, more than two a day. Trucks drive into bike lanes and just run the cyclists over.
Related imageIt is hard to deal with tragedy but when the drivers of the trucks are never charged that is a whole different issue. Politicians should stop talking about women’s vagina's, or Hillary’s old e-mails or Trump and his wacky comments. We need a sensible person to enforce bike accident rules. Some idiots are saying cyclists deserve to die on the roads because they are on a bicycle. In all 50 states killing someone on a bicycle is nothing more than a misedeamer.  Then there are the dare devil messenger cyclists zigzagging through traffic and running over pedestrians. Dare devil bikers sprint around Central Park and post their times on line proudly meanwhile some run over pedestrians walking in crosswalks.

These are all signs that authorities have no idea how to regulate biking in America. The dead pedestrians have no charges given to the dare devils even years after their loved ones have died as a result of a cyclist’s accident. We need to look to Europe especially Copenhagen which is the largest city in Denmark. On a typical morning in a city of 2 million people nearly half of them commute by bike. The cyclists do exist in peaceful harmony with the rest of the traffic. They have an entire 8 foot wide lane to themselves on every road. Their lanes are fully protected with their own turn signals and stop lights.  There are bike only highways and brick lanes just for bikes at malls. There are even multi-level parking garages just for bikers.    
Related imageThis would be some futuristic dream for Americans but it is a working reality in Denmark. It is interesting that it all is already operational and working in Denmark and could be a sample city for all American cities. Put our bloated Chris Christy on a bike and work on improving the infrastructure of roads and see how his health improves too. 50 years ago Copenhagen looked like the ugly belching wasteland of smelly cars that our cities look like. We can ‘t just plop bicycles on city streets for rental profits without having a Mayor for city planning to provide safe controlled bike lanes and enforce the proper punishment for crimes committed involving bikers.  
When will our priorities for transportation be bikes first, public transport next, walking and cars last? The benefits to a city is many. Copenhagen is one of the most environmentally friendly cities in all the world. They save more than a quarter Billion dollars in health care each year thanks to bikes keeping people fit. Just one biker was killed in all of last year there. Bikes can be safe, healthy and economical and practical but give the two wheelers a decent place to ride. It is actually the fastest way to get anywhere in a city. America needs to get away from the perception that a bike is simply for sport and recreation

In Amsterdam 60% of the people there use a bike on a daily basis.  They need to plan for parking garages there because people just park their bikes everywhere.  The train stations are particularly congested with bikes parked waiting for the owners to return from their trips. Imagine a scene like that someday somewhere in America.  In Amsterdam they might have too much of a good thing but even their problems can be solved if their elected officials create parking garages for bikes. Our very own Minneapolis is becoming a proud safe bike friendly city with their only 6% of bikers but we need more cities to follow the pattern so we can grow to 60% as Copenhagen is.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

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