Sunday, February 21, 2010

"Bicycle is not a transportation device"

That's according to Supervisor Cook (R-Braddock District), who at a recent Board of Supervisors Transportation Committee meeting said "I don't believe a bicycle is a transportation device. I think it's a recreation device. The big problem is people don't want to ride their bike in the rain or get sweaty before work."

Supervisor Cook needs to get out more. Every day people in Fairfax County use bicycles to get to work, shops, and to run errands. They use bikes to get to Metro, to libraries, and yes, some even ride to jobs at the Government Center. Some people don't want to ride in the rain but many do because they have few other options. You could ask some of the workers pictured above who are receiving free bike lights. They ride in the rain, snow, and darkness to get to jobs around the county.

According to a recent survey, nearly 40 percent of all trips made are 2 miles or less. With a good bicycle infrastructure, many of these trips could easily be taken by bike. Apparently Supervisor Cook doesn't think bicycling is a viable option for these trips.

Earlier Supervisor Herrity (R-Springfield District) stated that the county should eliminate the bicycle coordinator position. While we think these are minority opinions among the Board, which implemented the Comprehensive Bicycle Initiative in 2006, cyclists may need to gear up to fight for the bicycle coordinator position in the county budget which will be announced on Tuesday. I plan to attend that meeting (earlier in the meeting I'll be among a group of citizens receiving recognition for serving on the Tysons Task Force for nearly 5 years) and will report afterwards.

You can write to Supervisor Cook to let him know that you use bikes for transportation.

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Supervisor Cook needs to understand that a bicycle is not only a transportation device but the most practical transportation method for our children and those with out drivers licenses. Keeping our kids safe with bike lanes and strong protection laws, such as 3' or more passing distance from cars, should be a top priority. His partiality against cyclists is a disfavor to my family. I don't want to find a new Cook but somethings afoul in the kitchen.
I got beeped at this morning on US 50 because I stopped my car (in the dark) to permit a bicycle commuter to cross the entrance ramp for Rt 28. I'm happy to have done it. Bicycle commuters need all the help they can get. Especially with folks like Supervisor Cook undercutting them.

Currently, my customer is 35 miles away in DC, so I HOV. When they move to the Lorton area within the year, I'm intending to ride the 25 miles to and from the office at least once per week. They have showers. Sweat isn't an issue (other than staving off future health problems for me!)
The VA suburbs are a disaster for bike commuting. I can see why, with its tangle of highways and strip malls, someone who lives out there would think of the bicycle as only for recreation. Walking is a recreation activity there too, and not transport.

No one would say that who lives in DC.

I live in the UK now and in my city far more people bike or walk to work than drive. It rains constantly , but all bikes have fenders ('mudguards').

In DC/VA, cycling is done in cycle specific gear: special pedals and shoes, spandex everywhere, and of course helmets for all. Here, it's a very low speed affair on clunker bikes with no helmets and usually very short distances, because everything is, in theory, walkable.

The idea, here, that bikes are not transport, could not even be entertained. It's how everyone gets around.
@qualia Don't paint all cyclists with a stereotype. I have seen both the spandex wearing types and people riding in suits. In fact, I am one of those myself. I have my road/commuting bike and my clunker, and I use them each as needed.

Also, you hit the nail on the head. The reason the suburbs are so hostile to bikes as transportation is because of the lack of facilities. Build it and they will come.
I agree that the Bycycle is the best form of and greenest form of transport
Hi Bruce yes good blog and I agree. Look forward to the next post
I'm a daily bike commuter and my roundtrip is 9 miles. It's a GREAT form of healthy transportation. My son and wife ride to his elementary school too. There is no bad weather, just bad clothing.

Supervisor Cook needs to try life on two wheels. He might find himself more fit and able to think more logically and clearly on this important issue for sustainability.
With DC's latest announcement of ADDING bike lanes, I think Supervisor Cook need to get in touch with reality, and I challenge him to ride a bike to work for a week. Guarantee it'll make a positive change in his life.

That - or I think it's time to organize a critical mass ride in the Braddock District.

I'd be up for a critical mass ride in the Braddock District. I think Fairfax cyclists need to show they are out there and they use bikes for all kinds of different purposes. The county isn't showing much support recently for bicycling. Do you think there are enough people out there who are mad and won't take it any more?

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