More folks bike to work here than in any other city in the U.S. Seattle was the first city to put cops on bikes, too. Just think, if you had a Lesbian cop, she would be a dike on a bike, or trike.
With the city emphasizing riding bicycles, they are asking people to be roll models. But they put their money where it should. The Seattle DOT spent $36 million for bicycle improvements guided by the Seattle Master Bicycle Plan. Do we even have one here in the Bay Area or San Francisco. The best bicycle town I have ever seen is Davis, CA. The worst is Hanoi, where bicycles and motorbikes take over the roads in a free for all.
Puget Sound Bike Share is running the area’s bike share network, with 500 bicycles, and 50 stations. It is set to launch in 2014. San Francisco’s program began last year.
The program in Washington DC seems to be the best run.
Other cities with bike ride sharing programs are: Denver, Minneapolis, Paris, New York, London, Boston, Chicago, Montreal, and Miami. I am sure the day is coming when people will “rent” their own personal bicycle out to someone for a fee.
Many of the area hotels offer free bicycles to their guests. Public transportation is excellent in the downtown high density zone. But like San Francisco, parking is expensive. And gas stations are practically non-existent.
Once you get away from the hilly downtown areas, Seattle flattens nicely for the most part. The Bicycle Master Plan (BMP) was adopted back in 2007, and provides for building a 450 mile bikeway network. They also strive to reduce bicycle collisions by one-third by 2017.
While we are at it, how about some bicycle etiquette?
Bicycle Trail Etiquette
All users of trails
Show courtesy to other trail users at all times.
Use the right side of the trail except when otherwise designated.
Always pass on the left.
Respect the rights of property owners.
Keep dogs on leash (maximum length 8 feet) and remove pet feces from trail.
Municipal Code 11.44.120, County Code and State Code. You are responsible for the safe operation of your vehicle under City, County, and State Codes.
Yield to pedestrians.
Give audible warning when passing pedestrians or other bicyclists.
Ride at a safe speed. Slow down and form a single file in congested conditions, reduced visibility, and other hazardous conditions. I would add: use hand signals for turning and stopping.
Stay to the right side of the trail except when otherwise designated. I can say this without being racist, why do Asians have so much trouble with this concept?
Watch for other trail users.
Be especially alert when running.
Listen for audible signals and allow faster trail users (runners and bicyclists) to pass safely.
Unlike California, there is a helmet law, requiring all cyclists to wear a helmet, regardless of age (since 2003). An average of three cyclists are killed each year in King County, with 45 cyclists who were severely injured. San Francisco seems to have a similar bicycle accident profile and frequency.
The big picture is, of course, that cycling and commuting to work, as well as exercise options have changed over the years. Cycling has less impact on the joints and feet. A longer distance can be covered in the same amount of time as walking or running. Keep this in mind next time you get in your car.