All Points: Bicycles are good/bad on streets

Posted Sunday, Feb. 17, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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Fort Worth has a comprehensive plan to promote bicycling as a safe and attractive transportation alternative. Ultimately, it calls for more than 1,000 miles of on-street and off-street bicycle lanes and paths, with 75 percent on-street. The Fort Worth Transportation Authority plans a bike rental program. Is all of this an improvement? What steps are needed to make it better?

Remember rail

A wonderful, excellent plan as long as it doesn't take away funds for our more-needed rail transportation plans.

-- George J. Anthony,

Fort Worth

An accessible city

Multimodal transportation is an important and often disregarded component of what makes a wonderful city.

A great city favors the short trip over the long trip. Bikes in particular are great vehicles, because as ridership increases, car congestion decreases, health improves, vibrancy increases and more economic and social exchange is allowed.

Making biking more sought-after in Fort Worth requires increased education and accessibility. The bike rental program is a great step for accessibility, but do the roads safely support the cyclists? Is the culture amenable to cyclists on the roads? Good citizen education is key to cultivating support for choice on our roads. Instigating change is easy once residents learn of the advantages to walkable and bikeable neighborhoods.

-- Robert Salazar, Saginaw

Wrong focus

I am not seeing more bicycles on the streets of Fort Worth. I'm seeing lost street access.

Let's see how much the pet project of our mayor increases when we start our summer weather with a 110-degree heat index. Overall, the weather in North Texas is prohibitive.

Also, the new rent-a-bike program is sure to be a disaster. Who do you think is going to be in charge of tracking down the stolen/lost bikes? Most likely this will fall on our already taxed police department.

We need new streets, not more bike lanes. We need to spend tax dollars on what benefits all residents, not a low percentage of bike riders.

-- Susie Fitzgerald, Fort Worth

Driver education

The sharrows (shared lane markings) are a start, but I don't think drivers notice them. I consider them part of an ongoing awareness effort.

Dedicated bicycle lanes are better, and I am seeing more of them. Best, though hardest to implement, is physically separated bike lanes.

I have been taking the lane when the situation warrants, but I also know many drivers are not realizing this is for safety reasons. Rather, they believe I am simply being arrogant for getting in their way where they don't think I belong.

As important as safe streets is the education of drivers so they are aware of cyclists and they acknowledge bicycles as having a right to the road. Many drivers think of the bicycle as a toy, abandoned when they got their drivers license. I feel this education of drivers is as important as anything else.

-- Steven Reisman, Fort Worth

Expand Trinity Trails

I am a senior and enjoy recreational cycling in Fort Worth. However, I try to avoid riding on the streets because I don't think Fort Worth drivers have accepted cyclists like other cities such as Portland or Eugene, Ore.

To create full lanes on streets for cyclists makes me apprehensive because drivers in Fort Worth are not used to slowing down for us on bicycles, and using a full lane on the street for one or two bikes, rather than a group, can aggravate a driver, especially during rush hour.

I would rather see resources dedicated to expanding the Trinity Trails system to all areas of our city and to continue to mark off single-lane bike paths on the side of streets, not the full-lane approach.

-- Cy Francis, Fort Worth

License cyclists

My main issue with bikers is their general disregard, if not contempt, for the basic rules of the road. In the two weeks I have observed, I've seen bikers riding without safety helmets; riding at night without proper safety lights; ignoring stop signs and traffic lights; and blocking motorized traffic.

A driver has more than 2,000 pounds of vehicle moving at 30-plus miles per hour. The biker's only protections are fast reflexes and a small helmet. I fear the growing number of bikers will lead to more accidents, deaths and lawsuits.

I would require all bikers operating on roads with speed limits in excess of 30 miles an hour to possess a valid drivers license. They should be required to carry liability insurance. It may be necessary to license both bikes and their operators.

-- David Martin, Fort Worth

Cycling benefits

I am an avid cyclist and applaud the city for support of bicycling as a transportation alternative.

The bicycle rental program is working in other cities and will promote increased interest in bicycling in Fort Worth and give visitors an alternative way to tour our city. A map of historic and interesting sites would be useful to both residents and visitors.

The benefits of bicycling are improved health, gas economy, decreased pollution, and, hopefully, no more big parking garages, just enjoyment of our beautiful city by bike. I have enjoyed living on the Trinity River for eight years and brag about the trails to my out-of-state family and friends.

As we age and can no longer run or even walk two or three miles, bicycling is the exercise of choice because it is easy on the joints.

-- Marti Lewis, Fort Worth

Safe, legal riding

Downtown, we have an issue of a lack of good (and legal) examples being set for proper bicycle riding. Too often, the security staff on bikes are riding on sidewalks when there are bike lanes and routes, ignoring stop lights and riding against traffic. Breaking the law does not set a good example to those wanting to ride safely.

Do we need a city ordinance to ban sidewalk riding downtown? It's debatable. But safe and legal examples of proper riding are essential to improving how bikes are viewed in Fort Worth. Knowing how to ride a bike is not the same as knowing how to operate a bike safely and legally.

-- Hayden Blackburn, Fort Worth

Car-free lifestyle

I'm car-free by choice with two young children. Commuting by bicycle has made us happier, healthier and strengthened our ties to the community. I am fortunate to live in one of the few neighborhoods in Fort Worth where it is feasible to be car-free.

Improving the bicycle infrastructure would make it possible for more people to choose this lifestyle and would improve overall community health, reduce traffic congestion and pollution, and improve safety for the cyclists.

In my experience, most drivers in Fort Worth are very courteous, but I do encounter dangerous behavior from time to time. I believe better educating drivers and cyclists would improve interactions.

-- Elisabet Wadsworth,

Fort Worth

Wiser investment

It is exciting to see more workers using bicycles, for it seems to reduce street congestion and smog. Should we spend multi-dollars on additional bicycle lanes and pass laws to protect its riders? Is this the most efficient method of attaining these goals?

I seriously doubt it, for most large cities invest in efficient bus or train transportation. The same number of bicycle riders on our streets would produce chaos regarding street safety and parking.

Further, riding bicycles is somewhat seasonal. Let us be wiser in the methods of transportation we invest in. It is not bicycles.

-- Grady Fuller, Kennedale

Off-street trails

Bike trails are a great idea, but it's difficult to incorporate them into existing infrastructure. Placing trails in existing streets is somewhat dangerous for bikers, and I've noticed that cars sometimes park along the bike lane, forcing bikers to drift into the street to avoid them.

It is much better to build safe trails into new developments as construction proceeds. An example would be the Trinity River Vision, where I hope planners are incorporating safe trails.

-- Jim Hahn, Fort Worth

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