I’m a cyclist, or well at least I am in the sense that I frequently bicycle to work here in Seattle. I don’t wear that spandex stuff and go pretty slow. Seattle is not a bad place to commute by bicycle, but it’s not that great either.
According to the Economist, Seattle is much more dangerous for cyclists than is Portland. The article was prompted by the death of a guy I knew, Mike Wang of PATH. As Dan Savage of the Stranger noted when the Economist article came out, our town’s poor showing on bike safety is because we refuse to wage war on cars and truly give the bicycles some safe turf of their own. Those ‘sharrows’ look less to me like a way for cars and bikes to share the road and more like a wonderful method for ensuring collisions.
On the other side of the planet, NPR is reporting on the promotion of bicycles in Uganda for ambulances. Bicycles have been promoted for use by health workers in a number of poor communities in Africa, which, by the way, has some of the world’s most dangerous roads. The rise of bicycling in South Africa has led to an increase in cycling accidents and deaths.
Is bicycling good for health? It can be, but only if we finally figure out they need their own roads.