Sunday, May 10, 2009
High fives for cycling in Dallas
This last week, two cyclists from central Florida were riding their bicycles around Dallas, using as their starting points hotels in Downtown Dallas, Irving/Las Colinas, and a hotel at the High Five Interchange of US75 and I635. Both are League Cycling Instructors, both work in the communications industry (one is a former editor for Rodale Press who was curious about riding in a city Rodale/Bicycling Magazine named "The Worst City for Bicycling in America"). They came from a city with lots of bike lanes and bike paths. They rode here on local streets, and thoroughfares, on bike route streets and non-bike route streets, on trails, during the day, at night, and in rush hour. They rode their bicycles in a vehicular manner, controlling their lane and obeying the law (things too many of our local cycling activists don't seem to like to do). Some of their observations to me as they left to return to Orlando after a week in Dallas?
1) The street connectivity for cyclists was excellent, with multiple routes to get from point A to point B, usable by cyclists of simple, law-abiding skill levels,
2) The trail connectivity wasn't, and it was too narrow and covered in dirt at places (White Rock Creek),
3) The drivers were uniformly courteous and respectful to them,
4) Unlike some other cities around the country they have ridden in, most of the motorists in Dallas actually slowed down when passing them (as opposed to speeding up), confirming what the Dallas Run videos show.
5) The plentiful road-humps were designed to be bicycle friendly (long and low, with a fairly gentle slope)
6) The police were courteous, pulling up beside them at night in a fairly high-crime area and saying (after scanning their bicycles to make sure they were legal), "You ladies be careful out there."
Their final word to me was, "This is a great city to ride in. Please don't let them f#*@ up Dallas with bike lanes."
That's up to you. That's why we need SMART cyclists to step forward.