Greetings long time readers. Thanks for bearing with me during my hiatus from posting as well as the moving around of things. If you’re still reading this, you’re a dedicated friend. 🙂
I’d like to take a moment and discuss Cherokee Schill’s fight in Kentucky. The basic gist, she’s been fighting a court battle over whether or not she has the right to ride in the middle of a lane on a busy highway running between two towns in Kentucky. I’m not familiar with the highway or traffic conditions at all, so I’m not going to express an opinion except for this, she should have never have been placed in a position to have to make that choice.
The U.S.’s bicycle infrastructure has failed Cherokee Schill and has failed every other cyclist who has been forced to make the choice of taking the lane on a busy highway and possibly incurring the wrath of local law enforcement (even if the law allows you to take the lane) or riding in a shoulder poorly designed for cyclists. Either option is also not seen as safe by the general public, nor is either option pleasant for cyclists who chose to brave these highways.
We can do better. Infrastructure for cyclists, where it exists in the U.S., is piss poor. This is doubly so for rural highways where motorized traffic speeds are much higher.
Take a look at this video:
This is great cycling infrastructure from the Dutch. They’ve got this figured out.
Compare that to conditions that Cherokee Schill encounters on her commute:
Yes, Cherokee had a shoulder. It’s difficult to tell, but there is a rumble strip on that shoulder that is no fun for cyclists to cross. It also difficult to see if and what kind of debris exists on the shoulder. That’s not a road that the large majority of people in the U.S. would ride their bicycle on, much less on a daily basis for their commute. Kudos to Cherokee for braving that road.
Bicycling will never become mainstream for transportation in the U.S. until we step up our game and design and provide infrastructure that is on par with that of the Dutch.