• Mar 29th 2010 at 11:55AM
  • 20
Right now, it seems impossible to imagine a day when bicycles and pedestrians can equally share the roads with cars and trucks in the U.S., but Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood aims to make that day a reality. Recently, LaHood announced a "major policy revision" that will treat cyclists and walkers with policies similar to automobiles. LaHood's goal is to refocus efforts on non-motorized transportation by adopting policies that will encourage more people to consider these alternative transportation methods.

LaHood envisions future roadways built to accommodate not only vehicles, but also cyclists and walkers. As LaHood's policy states, "Walking and biking should not be an afterthought in roadway design." For example, snow should be cleared from bike pathways when streets are cleared, road maintenance should coincide with pathway maintenance, where roads and vehicles can go, so to should bikes and walkers.

By treating bicyclists and pedestrians as equals to the automobile, the new policy will encourage more people to travel via their own two feet. In addition, creating new pathways and maintaining those already in use will make traveling by bike significantly easier for those that already chose to.

Like any policy, LaHood's plan is not without critiques. Objections have surfaced from business owners, politicians and numerous other groups. Objections to the policy focus on jobs and job creation. Objectors have said, "you can't have jobs without the efficient movement of freight" and "what job is going to be created by having a bike lane" and even "the policy would undermine any effort the Obama administration has made towards jobs." These might be valid counter-arguments against the policy, but biking and walking are two of the most efficient, cleanest sources of travel known and we support LaHood's decision to back the cyclist for a greener future ahead. Plus, last time we checked, doing more work – like creating and maintaining bike lanes – requires more workers.

[Source: New York Times | Image: Herval - C.C. License 2.0]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      This just makes too much sense! Unfortunately, that's probably the only reason why it won't work. Get Americans off their fat butts, out of their hulking SUVs and onto their feet and bikes instead? Blasphemy!
      • 5 Years Ago
      Poor cycling photo, no helmet being worn and no warning device i.e a bell.

      Also the seat is way out of adjustment. Sore knees are bound to result.

        • 7 Months Ago
        Having lived in Europe for 3 years I observed traffic usually much slower in towns and cities making 2 wheeled transport more amenable. The Netherlands certainly caters to bicycle riders.

        Many States in the USA do not ask for helmets to be worn by cyclists whether pedal or motorised .

        Drivers in North America are still allowed to use hands free cell phones while driving, which still distracts them from the task in hand which is driving with due care and attention.

        Hospitals see all sorts of head related injuries and deaths through non helmet usage and people using cell phones while driving.
        • 7 Months Ago
        Almost no adults in the European and Scandinavian countries where bicycling is an everyday part of life wear helmets. They aren't like "worry wart" Americans in this respect. Or perhaps it's both riders and drivers are just so much more accustomed to each other. Plus, in many cases, and certainly in the case of Amsterdam (though not on the particular street pictured), they have their own lanes that are segregated from motor vehicular traffic.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Hey, I recognize that street....that's Amsterdam!
      • 5 Years Ago
      there are jobs created when business do more business because that bike lane near their shop means they are more visible. This attracts more businesses to the area to set up shop because its where the people are.

      A person on a bike or on foot has been shown to shop more often (for food and everything) than a person in a car, simply because it is easier to stop and go into a store.

      businesses in Portland use to moan when parking was replaced by bike parking, or when a new bike path took away a road lane, claiming that business would go down! it would be the end of the world!

      now they compete to get bike racks out front, because it has been shown that they will get more business if they do.

      the moaning reminds me of businesses who complained that they would die out if a indoor smoking ban were in place... many are doing much better than they were with smoking allowed.

      we don't have room for everybody to drive, even if there were no emissions ever from the cars, there is simply no room, we must have cycling and walking. For the price of a mile of interstate highway a medium sized city can have a complete cycle network, now tell me what creates more jobs, maintaining a mile of highway? or maintaining a cycle track network of hundreds of miles.
        • 7 Months Ago
        I would like to see more bicycle racks. At college, it was easy to lock up a bike, in the real world, all I have is lamp posts, trees, and signs.

        Google Maps with the bicycle directions are another thing that is a big improvment. Now if they would rate the roads as to how dangerous they are (green = bike path, red = 45mph road with no shoulder), that would be nice.
      • 5 Years Ago
      "" Objectors have said, "you can't have jobs without the efficient movement of freight" and "what job is going to be created by having a bike lane" and even "the policy would undermine any effort the Obama administration has made towards jobs. ""

      What is more efficient than displacing commuting passenger vehicles out of the way of freight?

      Look on the road. Count the number of trucks or otherwise commercial vehicles. Now count the number of single occupant passenger vehicles. Who out numbers who?

      The roads are mostly filled with people, NOT FREIGHT!!
      Get the people, who use the big family sedans and for god's sake, SUVs, out of cars and onto bikes when ever practical.

      That is a lot of useless space meant only to encase the single passenger.


      When the roads are clear of most passenger cars, freight trucking is less of a congestion (stop and go) nightmare. = more efficient! = better for jobs!
      • 5 Years Ago
      Energy secretary Chu is well-known for bicycling to work.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Get real, Chu.
      • 5 Years Ago
      A few more reasons the objections are economic hogwash:
      Most of the mile-based costs for cars go into 2 things: depreciation of the car, and the all-mighty fuel. Neither of those expenses are going to benefit American workers. With bikes, nearly ALL upkeep costs associated are going to go to a local (or internet based NASHBAR/ Performance) bike shop, owned, maintained, and stocked by American workers and goods. Not to mention many of the best commuting bikes available today are made by American companies. Moreover, many of the bikes and components that aren't made here are made primarily in Japan, Europe, and Taiwan. Notice a distinct lack of over-burdened countries ready to rapidly alter prices as a negotiating ploy.

      I'm not protectionist, so it doesn't bother me either way, but the protectionist argument simply does NOT hold water here.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Figured I would chime in here before the comments turned nasty and political as most do on the topic of bicycling.

      Improving life for a bicyclist can be as simple as passing a law requiring berms to be included when building or updating a road. As I write this I visiting my brother in Atlanta and I am amazed at how many roads connecting newly built subdivisions have no berms at all. (And I am talking of $500,000 McMansions here) He said he would ride his bike more if he even had a two foot berm. Pennsylvania is way ahead of Georgia in this regard.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Those are silly objections.

      Fact is the population density is increasing.
      We either need to start actually planning for it or hoping for some massive war or viral outbreak.
      I am going to side with trying to plan for it.
      Look at big cities now...
      You can hardly move for rush hour traffic.
      It takes insane amounts of time for commuters to reach work sometimes.
      And we are a massively unhealthy nation.
      I am for it.

        • 5 Years Ago
        ...and that doesn't even look at the concepts of lowering pollution or trying to stem the barrels of cash we ship out of country every day and into a part of the world where we are often seen as an enemy.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I would bike the 15 miles to work at least a couple times per week. BUT I have to take an alternate route to stay on anything even resembling a bike path which pushes the mileage to almost 25.

      100% agree with making bike lanes less of an afterthought on roads.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Here where I live bicycles have all the rights and responsibilities as other road users;
        although we are barred from the Interstates we can travel on any public road. Bike paths here are more recreational in nature, and don't seem to be designed with commuting in mind.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I bike on those kinds of roads that you are probably avoiding. Maybe I'm being stupid or a martyr or something, but i'm doing what I think is right.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I am all for more bike lane planning! I spent 30 years in Missouri fighting cars and when I moved to Colorado it was one of the many reasons. Having said that, I live over 100 miles away from my office due to the economy. I was riding the bus to work but lower fuel costs and a better car have made it much cheaper to drive. I ride my bike almost every sunny day and go to the store and other close shopping during the summer so I think a balance can be found. The other issue is weather (rain or snow) can make walking or biking an unpleasant experience and some ares have that kind of weather for many months of the year. I say a complete plan with more fuel efficient cars, public transportation and human power should all be included in cities master plans from now on.
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