Reason for Support : There are Riders of Different Ability
The opposition likes to cite anecdotal evidence to infer that people aren’t riding their bikes and there is no demand for bicycles in Arlington. For example, a certain District 3 candidate posted this picture on his Facebook page, along with the caption:
“What do ya know, mandated bicycle parking that is getting no use…and on such a nice day.“
What the picture doesn’t show is that in order to get to the car-friendly gas station and park your bike so you can get a tasty taquito, you have to ride in some very bike-unfriendly streets . The District 3 candidate’s comment is based on the fallacious assumption that 1) getting to the car-friendly gas station is a desirable destination for bicyclists and 2) that the built environment around the gas station is conducive to riding a bicycle.
People who support the Plan aren’t necessarily the kind of people who feel comfortable or safe riding with traffic without a bike lane stripe. Nor are the majority of motorists educated about a bicyclist’s right to ride in the street. But he would have known this if he’d actually read the plan.
Specifically, Arlington Hike & Bike Plan, Chapter 8: Design Guidelines, 8-4. Quote (with our emphasis in BOLD):
“Bicyclists typically have a wide range of skill levels from expert to novice. These skill levels are commonly designated as Type A, B, and C. Type A bicyclist is an experienced adult who is capable of riding in motorized traffic in a shared road situation. Type B bicyclist has less experience and is most comfortable riding in a separated bike facility such as a bike lane. Type C bicyclist is a recreational bicyclist who is most comfortable on a low-volume residential road or off-road greenway (often a child or senior adult). These groups are not always exclusive and are often mixed on a shared-use path. It is critical to ensure that safety and convenience of all users of a transportation system are accommodated in all project planning and development projects. At a minimum, the facilities will be designed for Type B bicyclist use, with the overall goal to meet the needs of Type C bicyclists to the greatest extent possible. In areas where specific needs have been identified (i.e., near schools), the needs of appropriate types of bicyclist will be accommodated.”
If we were to follow the District 5 Candidate’s logic in a pool analogy:
You could throw a water floaty into a public swimming pool filled with alligators, take a picture of the aforementioned floaty sitting empty, then say, “Hey! Another empty floaty at a public pool. And the water temperature is perfect.” Come on! Even James Bond would have a hard time making it out to that pool party.
The fact of the matter is that people do not want to ride to a destination if they perceive that their ride there is too dangerous. It has been proven that adding on-street bicycling infrastructure increases ridership. Increased ridership increases safety. Which increases ridership again. Read more about that here: Safety.