Bike advocacy: Responding to common excuses

If you’ve been a bike advocate in Metro Detroit for any period of time, you’re used to hearing the word “No”.

Currently most area road agencies don’t want to accommodate bikes on roads. They will spend a great deal of time reciting a litany of reasons why they can’t. The excuses vary from very valid to absolutely absurd.

Here are a couple implied but often unspoken excuses and some easy responses.

Excuse: Roads are for cars.

Bicycles were using roads before cars were invented.

And even so, the Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood very recently wrote this on his blog:

We need roadways designed to account for the needs of everyone who uses them, whether driving, walking, or riding in a wheelchair or on a bicycle.

The great thing about this Complete Streets approach to road planning is that it’s actually cheaper to plan for multiple road uses ahead of time than to retrofit roadways after they are built and someone gets injured or killed.

More information on Michigan Complete Streets efforts are on-line as well.

Excuse: Motorists pay for the roads. We’ll accommodate bicyclists when they start paying.

Motorists don’t pay for the all of the roads. A recent nationwide study found that as of 2007, road user fees only covered 51% of the road costs. The remainder is paid by taxpayers, which includes bicyclists.

And this only covers road costs and not the external costs or costs absorbed by consumers — a topic we covered earlier.

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One Response to “Bike advocacy: Responding to common excuses”

  1. What to do when the road rages and bumpers bite — part 2 « BikingInLA Says:

    […] driver who killed a cyclist gets up to two years per beer. A Detroit cycling organization offers effective responses to common arguments against accommodating bikes on the roads. San Francisco gets its first new bike lane in three […]

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