Protected Bike Lanes: Tucson Needs Some

With gas prices reaching $4 a gallon and filling the tank costing me ~$42 weekly now, I’ve been thinking of how to lower my costs and still be able to get to work to make money. I would certainly consider riding my bike to work, regardless of the 18 mile distance, but the lack of protection for riders on most streets through Tucson makes it quite hard to justify. I’ve met too many people who’ve been hit or know someone that’s been hit here to feel comfortable regularly riding the city streets.

Tucson does have plans to add “bike lanes” (read: widen existing roads to have a larger shoulder area) to many roads throughout the city, but the drivers here don’t respect the lanes and will often drive in them for long distances to illegally avoid traffic or make turns. Drivers here also have the bad habit of not looking out for riders that are in the lane and will cut them off and stop in front of them almost daily. On many main streets, city buses are allowed to drive the lanes as well, which null-and-voids the intent of a bike lane in the first place. Another boondoggle that I’ve witnessed is that, though the city intends to build many miles of new lanes, there have been very few actually put in since I moved here almost three years ago.

I’ve frequently though that Tucson could benefit from protected bike lanes and, with any luck, this experiment in NYC may make other cities play copy cat. I’d bet adding protected bike lanes through the city for bikers would, on top of enabling people to bike throughout the city, also cut down on car traffic.

For more information about Tucson’s bike programs, check out the TDOT’s website. There is lots of useful information about biking there, including maps and Tucson-specific biking laws.

[Washington Post Article found via Bike Hugger]



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