Tuesday, March 10, 2009

It takes more than just a share-the-road sign

The death of an experienced cyclist in Chatanooga, Tennessee leads to this sensible, thoughtful and well-reasoned editorial in the Chatanooga Times Free Press (h/t Carlton Reid). It recounts the discourtesy and even hostility with which some drivers treat bikers who dare to utilize the road and makes this recommendation:
A remedy for such malicious disregard should hinge on enforcement of the law against such potentially lethal driving, and legal and public education policies. Local and state transportation agencies and governments should consider a range of changes to improve driver awareness and road safety for cyclists, and pedestrians, as well.

A focused public information campaign, particularly in urban areas where bicycling has become a widely popular method of alternative transportation and recreation, should aggressively inform drivers of their legal obligation for safe driving when they encounter bicyclists.

State and municipal governments should consider both tighter driver safety laws and penalties, and also broader efforts to establish designated and more clearly delineated bicycle lanes that contain barriers to vehicular traffic.

One can't really say that bicycling has become a "widely popular method of alternative transportation" in Wichita, but maybe it would be more so if the city government spent a little effort on educational and enforcement efforts like the ones described in this editorial.

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