As a pre-departure assignment, I was asked to read and respond to Chapter 6 in City Cycling. Chapter 6, which was written by Peter Furth (I’m meeting him again in the Netherlands), discusses the influence of vehicular cycling on the United States and segregated cycling on Europe. I have known about this debate for several years. Since I bike in North Carolina and Oregon without a safe, low-stress and complete network of segregated bike infrastructure, I have been a vehicular cyclist for several years. Even though I am concerned about the door zone and being right hooked every time I’m in a bike lane, I ride in the bike lane because I could receive a ticket for not riding in the bike lane and impeding traffic. I have also experienced a nearly finished safe, low-stress, and complete network of segregated bike infrastructure in Denmark and the Netherlands so know what if feels like to ride in safe and low-stress segregated bike infrastructure. While I realize Denmark and the Netherlands didn’t build a safe, low-stress, and complete network of segregated bike infrastructure overnight, I must continue being a vehicular cyclist in the United States until it is safe and low stress enough for me to ride in segregated bike infrastructure. Thankfully, Peter Furth’s Low-Stress Bicycling and Network Connectivity report discusses how Level of Traffic Stress can be used to help the United States create safe, low-stress and complete bicycle networks. Notice the disconnected low-stress bicycle network in the below map of San Jose, California.
Since it will likely take decades to create safe, low-stress and complete networks, the United States needs to stop marginalizing vehicular cyclists so we can safely bike. As this article details, the United States has been marginalizing vehicular cyclists for decades so I can’t safely drive my bicycle.