October 1 2007

Baltimore Spokes - Bike Baltimore

Baltimore Spokes is an organization trying to help improve cycling (mostly bicycling) in Baltimore and Maryland. Their website has lots of good information about cycling including useful blog posts on bike paths, laws, health, the environment, mass transit and politics.

Baltimore Spokes is, I think, importing an idea from other large cities which have well established cycling advocacy organizations. One particularly notable organization is Free Ride in Pittsburgh. Free Ride does advocacy as well as bike repair and building sessions on a volunteer basis. FreeCycle is an umbrella organization to which many of these cycling organizations are linked. Another noteworthy organization is Bike Portland. Please take a look at both organizations.

As a bicycling commuter each and every day, it amazes me that the heart of our great cities in America are so unfriendly to both pedestrians and bicycles. Both walking and cycling have proven health, psychological and environmental benefits yet the car is still king on our roads. I acknowledge the need for cars, but must argue that a plurality of transportation modes is healthier than a reliance on one alone. Cycling and mass transit will never become mainstream until they are comfortable, safe and easily accessible.

That said, biking in Baltimore is a terrible experience for both the cyclist and vehicular traffic. It is unsafe, uncomfortable, and very inaccessible. I don't cast any blame but would urge leaders, designers, and planners to incorporate the potential for future bike lanes in all new traffic and urban designs.

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