Why invest in bike infrastructure?

So here is a tweet that I was mentioned in and I figured I would give a thorough response

@Miss_Kell_Bell@VoteWojcik besides a very small group of bike fanatics, does anyone in #rochmn care one bit about bike lanes? #carsareking

I do hear the comments often enough I thought I would throw out some facts.

  1. Cyclists as a group are growing fast, not just in Rochester but everywhere.  For the first time ever a large percentage of 18 – 24 year olds are choosing not to get licenses.  They prefer to rely on public transit, walking and biking.  If we want to compete for the talent we need to be ready.
  2. Most roads are funded with sales, income, and property taxes.  There is a myth that gas taxes pay for most roads and maintenance.  They do not.  Cycle routes cost much less to build and maintain than roadways for automobiles and cyclists such as myself contribute to the funds.
  3. There is pent up demand for safe routes.  Communities don’t see a surge in bicycling until there are safe routes nearly everywhere, in Rochester cyclists still face many unsafe gaps in the system.  As the system improves bikers increase in numbers.  To put this in perspective we don’t wait so see how many people swim across a river before we build a bridge.  As such we must anticipate what the demand for cycle routes might be.
  4. The potential for cycling in the US has been demonstrated.  Minneapolis looks to be headed towards 5-10% year round bicycle commuters.  If Rochester could get 10% of the downtown workforce to bike this would translate to at least $90 million worth of freed up parking downtown.  This is twice the value  of completing every cycling improvements between now and 2040.
  5. The amount of cyclists in Rochester is commonly underestimated.  Frequently I hear that no one takes the bridge over highway 14.  We measured it for 3 months and there were over 30,000 trips taken.  In 2015 there will likely be more than 100,000 trips across the bridge.
  6. Bike lanes are still needed even when bike paths are present.  Contrary to common belief, bike lanes are far safer than bike paths for cyclists.  This is because the perceived danger of having a cyclist sharing the road with cars is far less than the actual danger of having cyclists crossing at intersections and interacting with often distracted pedestrians.  Bike paths are great for kids and recreational rides, lanes are far better for frequent trips.  These safety numbers are confirmed in Minneapolis data.
  7. Businesses in areas that are friendly to pedestrians and cyclists do far better.  Again a number of national studies show that complete streets improve business performance.
  8. (From Kelly Corbin) Bike infrastructure is about building an inclusive and equitable community where we want all people to be able to access jobs, housing and education. For those who can’t afford a car or are unable to have a license due to health, age, or previous mistakes; bikes can be a great transportation option. Bike infrastructure means we can all access our destinations safely, something all Rochester citizens deserve.

This is why we will continue to heavily invest in bicycle infrastructure.

One comment

  1. I’ll never understand drivers who don’t give a dang about bikes. Don’t they know that for everyone of us on a bike it is one less car cluttering up their commute?

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