Saturday, November 12, 2011

License to Bicycle?

From: Bicycle Blunders and Smarter Solutions,

My sister and I were talking recently about the problems of mixed car/bicycle traffic.  She thought that all bicyclists should be required to take a safety course and be licensed, just like automobile drivers. Understandable.  She lives in Portland, OR, in a hilly area where it's not uncommon to come around a corner and find bicyclists blocking the road or balancing precariously on the shoulder on a dark, rainy day; not to mention the people who ride the wrong way on sidewalks or on the street. Heart stopping.

I'm not keen on licensing bicyclists.  It's hard enough getting people out of their cars, and hard to imagine enforcing such a law. Sorry officer, just wanted to run to the grocery store. Left my license at home, honest.

Here's something that does make a difference in bicycle safety:  separation.  Look at the statistics from Portland:  

"Facilities Reduce Risk"

Adding bike lanes substantially increased the numbers of cyclers and decreased the number of crashes. In Eugene, where I live, a 1995 study showed similar results.

Is adding bike lanes enough?  Should we also take steps to make sure bicyclists follow the rules of the road?

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