Waiting for the Bus.
This is a opinion piece I wrote for the San Diego County Bicycle Coalition (SDCBC) Newsletter last year. Unlike some other articles I’ve written for that publication, this one never saw print. A new Facebook page concerning the rideability of University Avenue (a main thoroughfare here in San Diego) brought it back to mind, and here to my blog page. The page administrator made a statement there that we need to be seen riding this piece of roadway to let the public and the local government know people on bikes are here and need improvements to make it safer and smoother.
This is a short piece and I hope you get my point. The road in question has heavy car travel, has no bike lanes, and is in terrible shape where your bike wheels turn. It travels many miles though many communities. I used to ride it often, and still do on some group bike rides in this those areas. I rode it yesterday and it is worse than ever before. Many people on bikes take longer routes to avoid this road, and the powers that be suggest to do the same. Instead of making it safe for all forms of transportation, they have chosen to do close to nothing up to this point.
With our new San Diego Bike Share program set to launch this year, it is obvious to me (and most) that without serious infrastructure changes, the program could fail. And with so many on bikes and foot, a safe east / west corridor in this part of town needs to be established (not just for bikes, but for everyone). Changes need to be made now and one way to point that out is to be seen riding this road and not avoid it.
Timur, a friend and bike advocate, has since moved to Portland to continue his law education. This post I wrote refers to a article of his that was published in the Union Tribune Newspaper last year. It was a strong message to the local and state decision makers that people on bikes want to feel safe when they ride and it’s everyone’s responsibility to make it happen. And to make it happen today—not tomorrow—not next week—not next year. Here is my article.
As I read Timur Endur’s excellent cycling advocacy article (Healthy Cities Equal Healthy People) in this Sunday’s newspaper, it brought a few things to mind. Like Timur and the SDCBC’s desire to bring better bike infrastructure to our local area, I am fully on-board. Bringing about changes to make riding easier and safer is a important cause and worth backing. That is one of the reasons my wife and I are members.
Still, I couldn’t help comparing this to waiting for a bus. The bus will come and eventually you will get where you’re going. The problem I see is, if you are waiting for the changes to be made before you climb on your bike, you will be stuck in one spot. In order to show the need for improvements, more bikes on the road will help highlight our push for a healthier and safer city.
As I ride I don’t dream about the way things could be, I deal with the way things are. It will be nice to see the changes come to us, but in the meantime, enjoying your ride for fun or transportation is the key. Work the roads and bike paths the way they are now, be as safe as you can and promote cycling with a good attitude. This will keep us on our bikes, draw more people onto theirs and show our community we are responsible and worthy of the changes we seek.
While I refuse to join in on the driver enraging Critical Mass, I have participated in all the recent memorial rides / protests. Showing our strength in numbers and legal ways can only help in getting our word out. Backing the many groups and individuals who stand for cycling infrastructure improvement with words, volunteering and donations are paramount. Still, the number one way of cycle advocacy is to actually mount and ride your bike.
So thanks to Timur and everyone like him. I applaud their efforts and plans for the future of safe cycling here and world-wide. More and more people will come to understand and embrace what cycling can do for their community. Today though, one more bike on the road can make a bigger difference than all the newspaper articles, so let’s go riding. Don’t wait for a bus that might not come. Turbo Bob.