Saturday, October 17, 2015

In Which Bike Lanes Are Spreading

Workers paint a bike lane on 42nd Street.

I’ve noticed, on Boyson Road, bike lanes that seem to go from nowhere to nowhere. And given how narrow Boyson Road is in parts where there is a bike lane, even if those lanes had a destination, I might, as a biker, hesitate to use them.

Bike lane marker painted on 42nd Street.
Still, it’s a good thing, from a biker’s point of view, how bikes lanes are slowly spreading in the city of Cedar Rapids.

The city just recently opened up the Cedar River Trail at 42nd Street, and I noticed this week, as I rode my bike there, there a city crew is painting new green bike lanes on the street.

On a Friday MMU Bike Club ride, for a time we were on bike lanes downtown. That was not my plan—I had been leading the ride and had used the bike trail, my preferred route through downtown—but I fell back to ride with the last rider, and the head of the pack took the lane instead of the trail for a few blocks.

Bike lanes in Cedar Rapids aren’t usually ideal. For one thing, they are right at the end of traffic lanes. Some cities are designing bike lanes so there is a barrier between cars and bikes—some even have the bike lane between parked cars and the sidewalk, rather than on the traffic side of parked cars.

Still, more bike lanes means, I hope, more bikers. That means a healthier city, less congested streets and more chances for more of us to be outside enjoying the weather and the sunshine, rather than merely transiting it in our metal cocoons.

MMU bike club on downtown bike lane.

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