Thursday, December 4, 2014

Biking in Suburbia

A ghost bike memorial.  Click for photo credit.
One of the great things about living in the suburbs is that we have lots of places to bike.  We have parks, trails, and quiet roads.  However, we also have some of the highest numbers of bike deaths in the country.  

In suburban Long Island, we have the highest rates of bike deaths in New York State--even higher than New York City (at least according to this 2011 report).

Older suburbs (and many new suburbs) are built largely around the automobile.  Roads that connect living areas with commercial or industrial land uses and employment centers do not usually take into account the bike commuter.  However, as biking is gaining in popularity there is greater conflict over shared spaces on roads.

As many older suburban communities go through redevelopment, or attract more bike-dependent residents, it is important to consider the space for bikes in public areas while building connectivity between places on bike lanes and trails.

An organization called Ghost Bikes places memorials around the world where bikers have been killed on roads.  Check out their Website here.  I have seen some of their memorials in Florida and they are effective at educating drivers about ensuring that they are looking out for bikers.  We need to do a better job in ensuring that the folks at Ghost Bikes have less to do.

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