This is a quiet time of the day on this main road in my suburb-city. I am riding to the park where there’s actually a lovely multi-use trail just 2.5 miles from my home. It is an eight-minute bike ride (that’s what homeowners in many neighborhoods near me could put on their For Sale flyers — Millenials want to know this). Along this route, I pass a community center, a synagogue, three churches (one which includes a vibrant food pantry), a college, numerous public bus stops, and the turnoff to one of the elementary schools my younger daughter attended as well as a home for seniors and the local high school.
The swath of green on my right in this video is slated to become a multi-use path. Some folks at city hall think there should be sharrows on this road instead. What you are seeing in this video (but add more cars because it would be during rush hour) is what it looks like to be a middle school, high school, or college student riding to school (too old to legally ride on the sidewalk). Sharrows don’t change this at all. (Here’s what sharrows are, and when it is appropriate to use them. Not here.) (Note: Yesterday was the first day of school here. There were three bikes at the bike rack at the middle school, two at the high school, and zero at two elementary schools near here.)
Important note: I am using #BikeNoodle in the video, which is the only reason every driver is giving me the legally-required 3-feet to pass. This is the road in the story that kicks off chapter 3 in my book, Traveling at the Speed of Bike (instantly downloadable to all devices from Amazon everywhere — here are global links), where, before BikeNoodle, I was almost killed by a truck. In fact, before BikeNoodle, I was “buzzed” almost every time I rode in this suburb-city. See chapter 6, Noodle Lady, for more about that!
As I was uploading this video, my husband was in the kitchen and asked what all that noise was. “It sounds like you’re at a racetrack!” he exclaimed.
I said, “No, it’s just Tilly Mill Road at noon on a Monday.”
Here is an 11-second compilation of photos from another bike ride on Tilly Mill Road:
Look — my kids are grown, I have road skills (and BikeNoodle), and I’m most likely going to leave this place in a few years for somewhere already bike-friendly. I’m not advocating for me. I’m advocating because I see decisions being considered that are just plain wrong for the future, and silence is not an option for me when I have information that may be helpful. We are currently a city without a ghost bike and I will do everything within my power to help keep it that way. I can tell you for sure that the city’s consultants do not have the rubber-hits-the-road experience I have from the perspective of a mom-soon-to-be-senior woman riding a bike in this city regularly and legally to try to get places as #OneLessCar.
Remember — you can’t feel like a kid again when you ride a bike . . . if you didn’t ride a bike as a kid. By denying families the ability to ride bikes safely, we are robbing kids of this gift for life.