Wed October 17, 2012
Cyclist Says Louisville's Bicycle Infrastructure is Inadequate
Events like last weekend's CycLOUvia are great for cyclists, but what about people who commute on their bicycles every day?
I got an email from Craig Lee yesterday morning. He commutes (or used to commute) from Deer Park in the Highlands to Jeffersontown several times a week. Lee says:
Most of the ride I'm able to stay in neighborhoods, or in a bike lane, but there's a stretch that I have to take on Taylorsville Road that's one of the only access points through I-264, that has always made me nervous. Yesterday however, I had two occurrences within that couple mile stretch that will keep me from ever riding this area again, unless a bike lane is put in. This has killed my ability to commute by bicycle, and even worse put a young man in the hospital.
While riding in the right lane, within a few minutes, Lee was passed in the same lane by a motorcycle, which caused a near-accident. Only a few minutes later, a car didn't see Lee and swerved, and ended up flipped by the side of the road. There was no vehicle-cyclist collision this time, but back in July Map Grapher mapped nine years worth of vehicle-cyclist collisions, if you're interested.
Louisville has some great bicycle projects in the works, like the Louisville Loop. But these seem to be most useful for people interested in recreational cycling. Metro Government has a list here of current and proposed bike projects (some of which are for full-scale bike lanes, some of which are for signage warning drivers about bike traffic) but even if all these are completed only a small percentage of Louisville's roadways will have bike lanes or signs.
What makes the whole situation even more complicated is that there are state roads--like Taylorsville Road--running through Louisville, and usually the state has the responsibility to maintain those roads and add bike lanes. And continuity of bike lanes is a problem when a road crosses a city line, because one city may build a bike lane that stops at the city line.
So what's somebody who wants to commute to work on a bike supposed to do? In his email, Craig Lee suggests Louisville needs better bike infrastructure combined with motorist education. WFPL's Gabe Bullard has been talking to cyclists who have been doored--hit by motorists opening a car door--and many are now avoiding bike lanes altogether. Any other ideas?