Friday, August 14, 2009

Bike safety improvements a-comin'?

A committee was convened by our city fathers, following three tragic and high-profile fatal car/bike accidents. From what I can determine, the committee was composed of cyclists of multiple stripes, city bureaucrats, representatives from the police department, etc.

They came up with a list of recommendations, which can be seen HERE. (PDF document)

Many of the recommendations seem like such "no brainers" that I almost wonder why they were included. Do we really need to clarify that you can't make a turn across the path of an oncoming cyclist? Or harass, intimidate and threaten cyclists? Are bike riders so dumb that they won't get off their bikes on a sidewalk that's teeming with pedestrians? WOW! We've really "dumbed down," haven't we?!!

The city is conducting two public comment sessions later this month. Interested parties should express their interest whenever possible. I intend to participate. Both sessions go from 6pm to 8pm.

1) August 25 at City Hall (150 N. Capitol Blvd.), 3rd Floor
2) August 27 at "City Hall West" (333 N. Sailfish Place), Sawtooth Room

Or comments can be emailed to

(Based on the number of hostile and ignorant comments that are posted following each bike-related story in the Statesman, I always wonder how we gained the status of being a "Bike Friendly Community." But in reality, I believe most of those comments are made by a small number of bellicose citizens, and don't reflect the prevailing opinion. At least I like to believe that most residents want to live in a city where it's safe to get around on a bike. It would be interesting to know how many of those anti-bike folks spout off and encourage the city fathers to ban bikes from the streets altogether.)

I continue to believe that all other issues are secondary to 1) enforcement and 2) education.

What's the point of updating our current laws, and perhaps adding new laws, if the police department has no intention of enforcing those laws? Has the Boise Police Department changed its stated policy, that "Bike violations are not a priority for the Department"?

And currently there is essentially no effort being made to educate people - both motorists and cyclists - about how to safely share the infrastructure. Or that bicycles are legal means of transportation on our roads - even the ones without bike lanes.

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