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As Planners What Can We do to Accommodate Bicyclists? Part Two

The Secret: It’s all about making bicycling both convenient and comfortable.

In 2008, a paper by Roger Geller, Bicycle Coordinator for the Portland, Oregon, Office of Transportation, titled “Four Types of Cyclists,” explained the continuum of cyclists as follows:


Geller indicates the separation between these four broad groups is not generally as clear-cut as represented. There is likely quite a bit of blurring between the “enthused,” the “interested,” and those not at all interested, but this has proven to be a reasonable way to understand existing and potential cyclists.

In 1999, a Guide for the Development of Bicycle Facilities written by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials defined four types of bicycle accommodations: 1.) Shared Roadways, 2.) Signed Shared Roadways, 3.) Bike Lanes and 4.) Shared Use Paths.

Recognizing that these accommodations typically were only improving conditions for Strong and Fearless and the Enthused and Confident cyclists – just 8 percent of the population – planners, transportation officials and many others looked to develop bicycle accommodations that provide an increased level of comfort for everyone else, by looking for solutions beyond that of bicycle lanes. This resulted in new facilities, including Cycle Tracks/Protected Bike Lanes and Bicycle Boulevards. In 2012, the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NATCO) formalized these best practices in its Urban Bikeway Design Guide.   The results are now being measured, and they are showing:

  • Decreases in injuries to all street users
  • Decreases in speeding
  • Fewer commercial vacancies
  • Increases in retail sales along the street
  • Increase in users who prefer the new configuration

We have learned that providing bicycle accommodations that are comfortable and convenient have real impacts and benefits to our health, economy and environment. And, as noted in Part One – more and more people are choosing bikes over cars.

So, how does Pashek Associates put new ideas into action? Part Three to follow next week.

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