100 miles, close to home

holidayerrands.jpgI did almost all my holiday errands via bike this year. Each trip was usually a four-to-eight-mile loop (and there has not been one incident of aggression in seven weeks, thanks to #bikenoodle, and perhaps a rising kindness in my city). I just ran the numbers and I was #OneLessCar in the City of Dunwoody, Georgia, for 100 miles (so far) this holiday season.

You know that good parking spot you got at the post office/book store/Costco/bank/supermarket/drug store? You’re welcome. You know how many other women or children I saw out there on bike during those 100 miles? Zero. You know what women overwhelmingly want? Protected bike lanes. You know how many are in my city? Zero. You know where we can put four of them right now, today, for the cost of potted plants or even just orange cones, as “pilot examples” for folks to test ride? Here. It has been almost a year since I suggested that. (Note: I don’t do illegal things so I’m not going to put up a “guerrilla protected bike lane,” even though it would take ten minutes and this strategy has been highly successful by others elsewhere.)

Did you know the average distance traveled by car on a single trip is under four miles, and that providing safe alternative ways to cover those four miles can reduce vehicular traffic, slow down wear and tear of streets, and increase community connections while boosting local business sales*? (Plus, it’s a ridiculous amount of fun, and I can eat as much cake as I want. I like cake. I write books when I eat cake.)

If you live, shop, work, or otherwise cross the border of the City of Dunwoody, GA (or would, if you could do so safely on bike), please take the city’s five-minute survey**. It’s part of the development of the updated transportation plan. Thank you. Your voice — and having choice — matters. Even if you never intend to ride a bike (but let’s see if your feelings change when bikeshare launches with electric pedal-assist bikes to handle heat and hills — oh, wait, that’s still just my recommendation, isn’t it?), you at least get better parking spaces!

*I spent $10,000 at Sprouts supermarket (see here) since it opened in my city two and a half years ago, in part because it has a bike rack. This kept $10,000 of taxable sales that would have gone to the neighboring city of Sandy Springs in the City of Dunwoody’s coffers. By requiring businesses to have bike racks and providing safe access to get to retail locations, we drive (so to speak!) more tax dollars home.

**Please read this before you get to the question about sharrows (those arrows painted on the road): Sharrows should not be proposed or counted as bike infrastructure as they do not give bike riders any additional access than that to which they are already entitled by law (bike riders can always “take the lane” when that is deemed as the safest way forward, such as when a lane is too narrow for a motor vehicle driver to pass a bike rider with safe clearance or when there is debris on the right side of a road). Sharrows work best as a specific heads-up to all that bike riders have no choice but to take the lane due to lack of other safe access such as during a short distance between disconnecting bike infrastructure, and as wayfinding signage.

Note: I offer one-on-one coaching for new and returning women on bikes. I won’t take you on the roads in the City Dunwoody (yet). I have safer routes for you. See details here.

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