Building up a Bicycle Community requires the following Bicycle Strategy: Safety, Appeal, [and] Convenience to be developed and implemented. But from a logistical perspective these Strategies can be done in a combination of series and/or parallel actions. But bicycle Safety should be implemented first as explained later. These three elements are key to providing a biking environment and experience that will draw out the most from the general population. If bicycling can be made a far more attractive alternative to commuting than driving more people will choose to bicycle rather than drive. Taking another prospective if driving a car can be made more inconvenient than riding a bike people will choose to bicycle rather than drive. Both of these consideration can go into making a small community such as Cupertino, where the weather is good almost all year round, a biking community.
The Joys of Bike Riding must be experienced to be appreciated and the Benefits of Biking are numerous from health to environmental and economic. It is a shame that so few take advantage of this low cost, low impact means of transportation. At present only 0.9% of adult commuters bicycle according to the 2010 Census for our city. But this is slowly increasing. This is a drop in the proverbial bucket. Far more citizens and children need to take advantage of The Most Efficient Means of Transportation Devised by Man. Perhaps biking is not for everyone but there are many who would bicycle given that it can be made Safer, more Appealing, and far more Convenient. So there are ways to encouraging more to bicycle.
SAFETY is the the most fundamental consideration on which bicycle popularity must be based. Make our streets FEEL SAFE and more people will start cycling. There are studies and articles related to this:
- Protected Bike Lanes Aren’t Just Safer, They Can Also Increase Cycling
- Lessons from the Green Lanes: Evaluating Protected Bike Lanes in the U.S.
- Statistics Library / Protected Bike Lane Statistics
- If you build it, they will come: New study shows that bike lanes increase ridership
- A New Bike Lane That Could Save Lives and Make Cycling More Popular
So it makes sense to make our streets SAFE to draw out those potential cyclists who are reluctant to bicycle because they perceive our streets dangerous with cars. Experienced cyclists who bike 20 miles a day everywhere are the hardest to convince of this because they feel the streets already safe. But their long experience has made them street wise, something the vast majority of the public is not accustomed to. All people who do not cycle regularly have as their utmost concern Safety. But there will be those who still need further incentives to cycle.
The greatest fear casual or green cyclist have is being hit by a car. To alleviate such fears as many Class IV protected bicycle lanes as possible should be built on heavily trafficked streets. Davis California is 1st City in U.S. to Install Dutch Designed Protected Bicycle Intersection and has been using and promoting Class IV for years. Protected bicycle lanes were developed in Europe decades ago. Once streets are made SAFE for Bicycles there will likely be a fairly rapid increase in bicycle ridership of 10 times or more than now ride our streets.
In order to attract even greater bicycle ridership biking must be made more Appealing. Appealing bicycle trails can be made along the Union Pacific Railroad Trail for Bicycling and Walking or the proposed 4 City Stevens Creek Trail away from traffic or along Class IV bicycle lanes with drinking fountains, trees for shad, tasteful landscaping, plenty of covered rest stop, and places to shop and eat. These and other amenities can create an environment where people can spend an entire day simply bicycling around.
Biking must also be made Convenient with bicycle shortcut throughout town, plenty of bicycle parking (bike stands and storage), bridges and tunnels to get around traffic and other obstacles, streets that on certain days are closed off to traffic so only pedestrians and cyclists can enjoy safety and quiet and shop freely along the streets without worrying about traffic or crossing the street. Eateries can set up tables with umbrellas along these streets for people to eat and snack like in quaint European towns. Grocery stores and other shops can set up stands along the street to sell their food or goods making for a pleasant and convenient shopping experience. Shopping centers can also prohibit cars in their parking lots on certain weekend days allowing only pedestrians and cyclist access to the parking lots with farmers markets on the unoccupied parking areas for the convenience of bicyclists and strolling shoppers. Closing off streets around schools during school commute hours and coordinate between schools to start classes at the same time so only biking and walking are permitted will make going to school easier. For instance Close Off Bubb And McClellan during Peak School Traffic. That will put an end to traffic congestion around schools and make them infinitely safer to bicycle and walk to.
One only needs to use their ingenuity to make biking more Attractive and more Convenient. But it is possible so it is worthwhile considering. Pilot programs could be developed to study these possibilities. Wouldn’t it be nice if Cupertino took on the character closer to a quaint small leisurely and more quiet town? Isn’t that what most people long for? It is possible if the City has the Vision and Political Will.