The recent pandemic prompted people to get out their old bikes or buy new ones to start riding again. Across the nation, cities are tasked with developing more bike lanes and trails to accommodate the influx of cyclists.
Chicago has announced a new $15 million plan to develop and connect 48 new miles of bike trails and corridors. Their goal is to have a total of 500 miles of bikeways citywide in the next 2-3 years. An additional incentive to get citizens of Chicago to get out and ride, the city’s transportation commissioner announced, “we are giving away 5,000 bikes with free helmets and free locks!” While this drew applause from some, cycling advocates were somber. In recent weeks, three cyclists were struck and killed by motorists in incidents cycling advocates say could have been prevented with safer infrastructure and road design.
Since the pandemic began, the number of cyclists struck by motorists have been rising at an alarming rate. Advocates say the problem isn’t just drivers speeding and breaking traffic laws, but also how infrastructure is built and maintained. They also stated that concrete curbs or barriers can better separate and protect bike lanes from speeding motorists, even if that mean eliminating a lane for traffic or on-street parking.
Urban Transportation director P.S. Sriraj says in order to create safer transportation spaces, “we must include the three E’s – Education, Engineering, and Enforcement. You need to educate the drivers, you need to educate the bicyclists as to how they are supposed to be using that space that right of way.”
News article and photo courtesy of: National Public Radio.