Bikers, Bikers Everywhere!

Let me begin by saying that this post could just as easily have been written from the “hate” perspective (and probably will, soon).  But for the time being, let’s appreciate the bicycle program that we have in Austin.

As someone who has been struggling to find the beauty in the flatness of this area (oh, I know—it’s the “Hill Country”), I can at least be glad that bike travel is extremely easy in this city.  A tremendous number of major-artery streets have designated bike lanes that are adequately broad, and most of the pavement in Austin provides for a smooth ride.  As a result, and coupled Austin’s year-round biking-condition weather, cyclists hit the streets in droves.

This kind of thing doesn’t happen by accident, though.  In fact, Austin’s Public Works Department has set up a Bicycle Pedestrian Program.  In their own words:

The purpose of the Bicycle Program is to integrate bicycles into the transportation system of the City of Austin. The program works with all City departments, the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (formerly the Austin Transportation Study), Texas Department of Transportation and other governmental agencies to create more bicycle lanes, wide curb lanes, paths and other facilities.

The City of Austin has provided a bike map with different levels for

The City of Austin has provided a bike map with different levels for

And whether your biking to work or for adventure, the city has also set up a comprehensive map of the area, detailing bike routes and their “ease of use.”  Seen here is a portion of the map.  According to the map creators, the green routes are the easiest to use for bikers, followed by blue, and red is the worst.  Red routes have “high traffic volume and narrow lanes that “could act as barrierst to cyclists.”

This is good, but of course, it could be better.  The City of Chicago’s bike program, for example, is truly impressive.  Online users can truly contribute to making that city’s program better.  Chicago’s Department of Transportation has provided for download a “Bike Plan Vision” through the year 2015.  There’s also a place where residents can request a bike rack where there currently is none.

Do we have a great city for biking?  Sure.  But I think a quick look around at other successful programs will show us that there’s plenty of room for improvement. 


5 Responses to “Bikers, Bikers Everywhere!”

  1. 1 jeffbechdel October 31, 2008 at 12:46 pm

    I realize commenting on my own post is probably some terrible form of narcissism, but I just wanted to add that I spent about 40 minutes trying to get the picture and the caption to match up perfectly. Obviously they did not and I left it as is. Ideally, it would have said “The City of Austin has provided a bike map with different levels of ‘ease of use,’ as designated by the colors above. Green is good, blue is moderate and red is bad for bike riders. Click on the map for a full version in PDF format.”

  2. 2 Jane Kim November 1, 2008 at 6:20 am

    Honestly, bikers piss me off. They’re so smug, thinking they can switch from being a vehicle to a pedestrian whenever it pleases them. As a driver, it irritates the hell out of me. But.. that’s just my morning road rage speaking.
    I understand that it’s a great form of transportation that saves money, keeps you in shape, and saves the environment. And I guess it’s really not their fault since they wouldn’t have to annoy the drivers and pedestrians if they had better biking lanes throughout the city. I think the program really needs to focus on improving the UT campus area because it is really becoming a problem. I can see on the map that 24th street and Dean Keaton are bad for bikers, and those are the two main streets I use, and yeah. They’re terrible.

  3. 3 Anonymous June 13, 2012 at 9:24 pm

    Cyclists demand to have it both ways. They want the respect of a real vehicle then operate it like they are exempt from the rules of the road, saying it’s a toy. So, if you are one of these green kamakazes, which is it? Or, is it an Etch a Sketch moment at any nanosecond?

    Lately, I’ve been seeing more cyclists, mostly working poor using the fragile contraption as the commuting method as a last resort. Except for yuppies and adrenaline junkies, people don’t feel safe in traffic, given idiots who text and drive. That’s why it’s the vehicle of last resort. A monthly bus pass costs $86 in Chicago but a bike can be had for as little as $20 and is paid once. Yuppies are the exception, they buy expensive bikes (thinking they are Lance Armstrong) and are simply asking for it.

    With the working poor supplying the spike with cyclists is an ominous economic sign: The poor are getting too poor to even ride a bus.

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