Grand Valley 2040 Regional Transportation Plan Comments

Tom Burrows
biking@thomasaburrows.com
September 23, 2014

My recommended improvements for the 2040 version of the RTP are:

Where I previously lived, and had better roads for cycling, I accumulated over 20 years of bicycle commuting experience. I was able to successfully coexist with motorized traffic because 1) I followed the rules of the road and 2) I used a set of safe cycling strategies known as vehicular cycling. The "bible" of vehicular cycling and bicycle commuting is John Forester's book Effective Cycling.

Forester is also the foremost critic of bikeways (bike paths and bike lanes):

"The government's program for bicycle transportation is based on attracting cyclists who don't want to ride according to law and believe that bikeways eliminate that need." ... "Today, the governmental program for bicycle transportation pretends to make cycling so easy, by bikeways, that cyclists no longer need to learn how to operate as drivers of vehicles." [Effective Cycling (7th Edition), pp. 322, 325]

A high percentage of cyclists here of all ages ride like toddlers, thinking that "urban trails" reduce the need to learn to ride a bicycle legally and safely as a vehicle.

In addition, bike lanes, which are the centerpiece of Mesa County's "governmental program for bicycle transportation," are being widely shunned by the cyclists themselves. Cyclists depend on the sweeping action of car tires to keep the road clean; and I routinely observe cyclists avoiding the bike lane and riding in or next to the auto lane to stay in the clean part of the roadway, forcing motorized traffic to go into oncoming traffic to get around them. It is difficult to say who suffers the most from this approach to bike transportation, the cyclists or the motorists.

For more background on the fallacies surrounding bikeways, see John Forester's paper "Who Really Benefits From Bikeways?" at www.labreform.org/who-benefits.html

For further details on how to improve bikeability of streets and roads, please see my white paper on "Improvements for Bikeable Streets and Roads in Mesa County" at thomasaburrows.com/trails/biking.html and John Forester's papers at johnforester.com/articles.htm