• Reason #2: Because to exploit the benefits of bicycling, Delaware needs a low-stress, family-friendly and seamless bikeway network

    by  • December 8, 2012 • Bike Delaware, Low Traffic Stress Bikeway Networks, Transportation Trails • 0 Comments

    Today and tomorrow (December 9), you can join (or renew your membership in) Bike Delaware for only $25.

    The benefits of cycling are myriad and profound:

    But for Delaware to gain these benefits, a lot of Delawareans have to choose cycling.  Today, however, not many do.

    The League of American Bicyclists (LAB) performs a signal service to bicycling in America with its Bicycle Friendly America program.  Though most of America is very bicycle-unfriendly, LAB highlights and promotes those places that are better than average.  And, with it’s platinum designation, it particularly calls attention to those places that have, somehow, managed to make bicycling mainstream.  It’s a very exclusive and elite club, however, consisting of only three communities:

    • Portland, Oregon
    • Boulder, Colorado
    • Davis, California

    How mainstream is bicycling in these places?  In Portland, 6% of the commuting population use a bicycle as their main way of getting to and from work.  In Boulder, this number – the “mode share ” – is 10%.  And in the very amazing Davis, California, an incredible 25% of commuters – one quarter – get to and from work primarily by bicycle.

    In Delaware, by way of sobering comparison, 0.3% of our commuters use a bicycle as their main way of getting to and from work.

    Davis, Boulder and Portland are all places in the western United States.  Davis and Boulder are both cities with large universities in their centers.  But neither of these factors can account for their remarkable mode share.  There are thousands of other communities in the western U.S. with bicycle mode shares no greater than Delaware’s, despite the “outdoor spirit” that supposedly permeates their culture.  And while the presence of a university can certainly help, that too is no guarantee of high mode share, either.

    So what does explain Davis, Boulder or Portland?  It’s not rocket science.  Each of these places has invested a huge amount of effort in creating low-stress, family-friendly “bikeway” networks.  In Portland, it is a network of bicycle-friendly streets. In Davis and Boulder, it’s a network based on off-road pathways:

    Davis, Boulder and Portland have all weathered the recession well and are all thriving.  Their bikeway networks have all paid off for them, and will continue to do so.  But it took them all a while to get these networks in place.  While Portland only really got serious about 20 years ago, Davis has been working on its network since the 1960s.

    By joining with other cyclists,  you are funding an organized, unified and powerful voice for bicycling in Delaware.  We have shown how powerful – how irresistible, in fact – we are when we are unified, organized and focused.  If you want more of that – and want a low-stress, family-friendly bikeway network in Delaware – please help by renewing your membership in Bike Delaware, or by becoming a member of Bike Delaware for the first time, today.

    RELATED:

    How Did Boulder Do It?

    Beyond Paint: Davis, California

    About

    James Wilson is a member of the Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals (by whom he was named the 2014 Professional of the Year, Nonprofit Sector), the Institute of Transportation Engineers and the Delaware Bicycle Council. He serves on the board of directors of Delaware Greenways and as the co-chair of the policy committee of the Advisory Council on Walkability and Pedestrian Awareness. He holds engineering degrees from Yale University and the University of Texas at Austin and is the only registered lobbyist for cycling and walking in Delaware. He helped create, and continues to lead Bike Delaware's participation in, the Walkable Bikeable Delaware campaign. During his tenure as Bike Delaware's executive director, Delaware advanced in the national Bicycle Friendly State rankings for five years in a row, farther and faster than any other state, ever. Delaware is now officially ranked as the #3 Bicycle Friendly State in America.

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *