Recent coverage of cyclist safety and transit planning has uncovered a dangerous blindspot in the development of cycle-friendly infrastructure: Higher-speed multilane arterials pose significant dangers to cyclists.
Unfortunately, the article ("Street planning, more awareness may help reduce Salt Lake auto-bike crashes," Tribune, Feb. 2) failed to recognize that the city has fostered these hazards under a program known as "complete streets." Well-intentioned, this program seeks to build access to all modes of transit on major streets.
However, as any cyclist or user of off-road recreation can attest, differences in traffic volume, speed, surface, terrain and alternate routes are key factors in building safe use. It is quickly obvious that encouraging cyclists to use 700 East (and arterials like Redwood Road) is dangerous, misguided and inappropriate.
Too often, the city’s approach to Complete Streets has been piece-meal: throwing a bike lane on a major arterial while restriping, without adding traffic calming or pedestrian measures. Municipalities would do far better to focus limited resources on places where cyclists want to ride: paths, protected bikeways and residential streets, which often parallel the arterials. It’s a waste to spend money to build dangerous infrastructure that rarely gets used and can increase user conflict.
Salt Lake Bicycle Collective
Salt Lake City
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