Friday, April 25, 2014

Think it's bad cycling in Delaware? Think again.

Wally Hertler's 2011 Tour of the Blue Ridge Parkway started in South Carolina, via Amtrak one-way from Wilmington

The below are poignant excerpts from the article as published in Atlantic Cities:

"A report on transportation spending by Advocacy Advance, a partner of the Alliance for Biking and Walking, found that the southern states spend the least on biking and walking safety infrastructure as a percentage of their total spending. Over the last few years, Massachusetts directed more than 5 percent of its transportation spending to bicycle and pedestrian facilities. In that same time period Louisiana, North Carolina, Florida, Alabama, South Carolina and Mississippi each devoted one half of one percent."

"The south is rife with stories of prominent cyclists who have been injured or killed. Last year Durham, North Carolina, lost one of its most beloved bikers, Seth Vidal, to a hit and run. The year before, Baton Rouge suffered the same fate. The year before that it was Charleston's turn. In one incident in Mississippi this past summer, 13 cyclists were struck at once in a massive accident that killed one and hospitalized the rest. Reckless driving caused all of these deaths. “Total lawlessness on behalf of drivers,” in the words of Peter Wilborn, founder of the national bike advocacy group and legal practice Bike Law."

"But Wilborn insists that education alone will never be enough to make the streets safe for bicycles. “Cycling fatalities are inversely proportional to the amount of money spent on bike infrastructure,” he says. “This is well documented. There is a number of what a state spends - and that number correlates almost exactly with its ranking on fatalities.” If you want to know the reason why South Carolina is unsafe, he says, look at how it doesn’t spend its money. Frankly, he adds, “South Carolina does as little as possible.”

"Melody Moody, the executive director of Bike Walk Mississippi, explains that her state has "a big issue with a lack of paved shoulders. We’ve been working on that for years, but with less success than we would have hoped."  [Read the whole article ...]

Poster's note: Delawareans are very fortunate to have paved shoulders on most medium to higher volume roads and arterials, with some limited bike lanes. In most states, shoulders are few and it is normal to find yourself riding in the lane on high speed roads - which can impede traffic and incite road rage. Shoulders do, however, invite higher overall speeds, and bicyclists are still not immune from distracted and aggressive driving. But such roads are safer, much more comfortable, and find favor with the vast majority of bicyclists. And we have managed to keep it that way with a solid history of on-road bicycling advocacy in Delaware.

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