My metro-Atlanta suburb-city of Dunwoody, Georgia (which became the newest city in the USA in 2008) is showing strong local leadership regarding the current global crisis. My hope is that city leaders continue to do so regarding safe-access-for-all via the ever-important use of bikes. Here is the email I sent to them this morning. Please consider taking a similar action, wherever you may live. Bikes have proven their worth throughout history, and we are experiencing an historic moment where every decision is life-or-death right now.
Dear Mayor and City Council:
Thank you for your leadership during these unprecedented times. I apologize for the length of this, as I know your time is valuable, but the urgency of this request must be stressed. Lower motor vehicle volume as a result of our current crisis has resulted in increased driver speeds on the streets of Dunwoody, as witnessed during my bike ride yesterday throughout the city (so much so that I alerted the Dunwoody Police about it).
Please note: The necessity for bike riding for all ages and abilities has increased as people seek:
* ways to assist neighbors in need.
Bike riding is considered an allowable essential activity in cities that have already issued complete lockdowns. Avoiding the potential of car crash victims that would divert increasingly-limited healthcare capacity should be a high priority. I therefore respectfully request you consider any and all strategies to make our streets safe and accessible for all immediately.
* designating car-free lanes that lead to supermarkets, pharmacies, and small businesses considered essential services; or requiring (or even just encouraging) certain hours of the day (even just one or two) to be car-free.
UPDATE: 3/21/20 I received a flat no (no time, no staff, no priority), even after I volunteered to lead the effort. Feel free to use these ideas now or in the future wherever you may live. See Traveling at the Speed of Bike for more. (And, by the way, a citizen and a sleeve of red cups can accomplish a lot in a half hour. Not saying you should do this, but see here for photos of others who did.)
If interested, see the follow-up post to this titled Path and Pace.
UPDATE: 4/7/20 Here is what it looks like to ride 2 miles to the post office (shown in 23 seconds) to mail face masks to loved ones while observing appropriate social distancing from pedestrians:
UPDATE: 4/21/20 So, during these days of social distancing, protected bike lanes would not be the answer because as a bike rider, I find I have to continually thrust myself into the path of motor vehicle traffic in order to maintain the 6-feet-distance every time I pass walkers or runners (who, by the way, are often in bike lanes). So the only solution is to re-allocate road space to dedicate it to Vulnerable Road Users of all ages and abilities.