In some parts of the bicycle world there is a discussion about the best way to ingrate bicycles into vehicular and foot traffic. Some people who study these things for a living suggest that the best way to deal with bicycle traffic is to integrate bicycles into vehicular traffic lanes. Some experts believe that separate and in some opinions, separated, lanes for bicycles are the best.
For me that debate is firmly settled. Until human powered and motor powered vehicles learn to play together safely and fairly I think separation is a really good idea. Whenever given the option of riding a bike lane or bike path I use it.
I use them for several reasons. Safety is the first reason. Separation from large powerful machines that may, or may not, be driven by distracted or incompetent operators is a wonderful thing for this bicyclist. My second reason is thankfulness. If a local community has gone to the effort and expense to build infrastructure for bicyclists I am going to use it. One of the worst things that can happen for future bike and footpaths is for no one to use the ones we have now.
When I am on the north shore of Syracuse, or the northeast side of Goshen headed to Middlebury or I am riding to Elkhart from Goshen I am on a bike path. According to this study I get to help the health of the local economy when I do that as well my own health. According to this study out of New York City separate bike lanes are an economic stimulant.
So now in addition to reduced health care costs, lower emissions from automobiles and smaller parking needs increased bicycle traffic can help rebuild a local economy. I now have one more very cool reason to spend even more time on my bicycles this summer. Some of that time will just have to be spent bicycling along the extra wide sidewalks that run from my house to the Chief. After all I’m only helping the Goshen economy.
The road is long. Let’s ride.