If you're passionate about cycling in the City of Chicago, you need to set aside an hour or six of your time tomorrow and share your thoughts.
Your input at CDOT Commissioner Gabe Klein's Open House Saturday, December 10th at 23 E. Madison from 10am to 4pm, will help determine where the next ninety seven miles of protected bike lanes should be installed. There will also be a meeting on Wednesday, December 14th from 3 to 4:30pm of the Mayor's Bicycle Advisory Council at City Hall.
Gabe Klein is committed to a comprehensive transportation plan (read; cars, buses, bikes, and pedestrians) that will address the city's changing needs for the 21st Century. Much has been written about his vision in recent articles. John Greenfield did an extensive piece on Klein this past week on New City. Another feature article appeared on Redeye after John Mc Carron's unfortunate Tribune op-ed piece.
If you've read this blog over the past two weeks, you're fully aware of the controversy city cycling has generated. Mc Carron's op-ed generated 140 user comments. My posts, War On Cars; Don't Sweat Emissions or Congestion and War On Cars and the Cycling Ego generated nearly 100 comments (including my replies).
Cyclists are standing up for their right to share the road. An entire page of responses in favor of city cycling appeared in the Trib's Voice of The People on December 5th.
City cycling makes sense.
And despite the naysayers who complain that a Midwestern city like Chicago shouldn't be investing taxpayer dollars in bicycling infrastructure, I give you this great article about Minneapolis.
That's right, Minneapolis.
Right now, as we speak, permafrost has set in across the tundra known as the Twin Cities. The temperature there likely won't get above freezing again until sometime in March. But that doesn't stop them from cycling. They have the infrastructure to make it safe and convenient.
And that's the point; infrastructure improves safety for all road users.
Cycling is up. Car and bike crashes have declined. Efforts are under way for more cycling education for both cyclists and motorists. This can work in Chicago!
Articles in support of the many benefits of urban cycling have been popping up all over. From the Pacific Northwest where bike culture is part of their laid-back lifestyle to New York City where the word gridlock is more often used as a verb, bicycling benefits the community, individual health, and even the economy.
But we still have a long way to go.
We have to learn to share the road. We have to make certain all road users are familiar with the Rules of The Road (bicycles start on page 39). We have to show one another respect. It's not just a courtesy, it's a responsibility.
Thanks to all of your great comments, I think we've identified that rider every motorist has seen crossing on red lights, running stop signs, and riding the wrong way on one-way streets.
He's approximately 18 to 26 years old, likes to dress all in black, and can't go anywhere without his iPod. If you see him - or happen to be one of his parents - please tell him to stop acting like he's immortal. He's giving the rest of us a bad name...
Keep bicycling and be safe. And don't forget to speak up for cycling this weekend!
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