Trail Ramblings: EnVisioning Safer Streets and Trails.

Recently I was reading about how the Vision Zero traffic safety model has been making the streets of New York City safer for pedestrians, though not for cyclists. Most of the cyclist deaths have been on streets without bike lanes, and of e-bike riders, whose numbers are growing tremendously. But just building bike lanes and trails alone doesn’t guarantee that motorists will respect them, especially where they cross streets. Many of us have had close calls or worse when a motorist turning right has not looked for pedestrian and cyclist traffic crossing the street to their right while awaiting oncoming traffic from their left. The dreaded right hook. The fact that we’re in a crosswalk does not matter.

Safe Streets Lincoln

Lincoln has it’s own Safe Streets Lincoln initiative, which is part of the national Vision Zero program, through our LTU. The Planning Department has the Complete Streets program, and a committee consisting of various city departments to implement shared policy goals. The most recent issue of GPTN’s newsletter (on paper) has an informative article by Stephanie Rouse, Transportation Planner at the Planning Department. In it she talks about the Complete Streets program in Lincoln. I would link it here but it’s not yet available on GPTN’s website. The goal of all these programs is to make it safer to bicycle (and walk) in Lincoln.

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We want to see more people riding bikes and riding more often. We have frameworks for improving infrastructure to make it more bike friendly. What has to accompany this is a change in motorist habits. How do we convince motorists to stop for cyclists in crosswalks? To see the trail users crossing intersections rather than just look for oncoming motor traffic? Would more signage warning motorists to be aware help? More flashing beacons? I can understand the reluctance of a would-be bicycle commuter to ride to work if their route, even on bike trails, exposes them to close calls by inattentive motorists. I commute all over the city and I see the inattention all the time. I try to ride defensively. Some motorists don’t know that cyclists have the same right to use the road that they do.

In a month BicycLincoln will be hosting a Community Open House and Visioning session where we’ll have a discussion about what makes Lincoln a great place to ride, in spite of our concerns, and what we as advocates can do to help make it better. We’ll be talking about infrastructure, policy, education, and outreach. Bring your ideas, questions, and those concerns to Gere Library, April 23 from 6-8 P.M. We’ll see you there!

2 thoughts on “Trail Ramblings: EnVisioning Safer Streets and Trails.

  1. Jordan Messerer

    Thanks for the article. Have you seen the initiative to not allow right turns where crosswalks or trails exist? It would be a start in Lincoln. I believe it started in New York City.

    • Janine Copple Post author

      Hi Jordan, yes, I’ve seen Thai initiative is popping up in a number of cities. It would cut down on those regions get hooks. I wish the divers would just watch where they’re going.

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