Cyclists impatient for “friendliness” in Cedar Rapids

Last night, a participant in the Hawkeye Bicycle Association forum responded as follows to the idea of Cedar Rapids becoming “bicycle friendly“:

Cedar Rapids Bike friendly Community. Yeah right. Keep dreaming. I’m ready to buy an armor bicycle the way I have been treated on roads around Cedar Rapids.

There was more.

I know the feeling well, and I would guess so do most other people who have cycled our streets with any frequency. There has been lots of talk in the past few years about making things safer for cyclists in both Cedar Rapids and Linn County. Until fairly recently, there’s been very little in the way of action.

Here are some signs that the talk is serious, though:

  • Before the June floods the city’s staff was directed to begin work on a “complete streets” policy that by definition would include accommodations for cyclists.
  • Bike racks will be mounted on city buses to encourage multimodal transportation.
  • A “Bicycle Coordinator” has been appointed.
  • The Bicycle Advisory Committee is meeting for the first time this morning.

Within the past few months, City Manager Jim Prosser indicated during a meeting of the Citizens Feedback Network that “complete streets” are going to be part of our future. I’ll see if I can get him to expound on that and the development of that policy. (10/23/08 note: Mr. Prosser asked Adam Lindenlaub to provide an update on this and I’ll post the information when it’s available.)

I’m impatient and I know many other cyclists are, too. There are many people who avoid bicycling except on trails (which sometimes are more hazardous to cyclists than the streets) because of how motorists treat them. Much needs to be done to educate drivers and cyclists alike before we coexist more safely and begin to see the benefits of more efficient transportation, not to mention more exercise.

Still, we seem to be moving in the right direction. That’s good news.

Pedal on.

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