The front page of today's Seattle Times should be a wake-up call to our government officials: our streets are not safe for bicyclists. Bicycle safety expert John Pucher, a professor at Rutgers University, recently biked the Seattle streets. He points out that it's actually more dangerous to ride in downtown Seattle than it is in Manhattan. Professor Pucher had five or six very close calls on Second Avenue, where he points out that the bicyclists need to be on a path that is separated from cars.
Professor Pucher's larger point is that we are way behind other cities, like Austin, Texas, in making safe space for cyclists. I lived in Austin when they started their bike friendly movement. In no time, they reworked the city to accommodate cyclists. Seattle can do the same. In fact, looking at how other cities and, in particular, other countries create and maintain bike routes is critical for Seattle. We fancy ourselves a modern, liberal, healthy lifestyle kind of a city. But until we actually make bicycle commuting a safe and inviting experience, we'll just be pretenders.
I'm grateful for the attention Professor Pucher has brought to this very important issue. The better job we do creating safe spaces, the fewer injured cyclists we bicycle injury attorneys will need to help. That would be a beautiful thing. Whenever I hear of a cyclist going down, it has a personal impact on me and all folks who jump on their bikes. It would be terrific if we could turn these words into action. We presently have a mayor who is a cyclist. If he accomplishes nothing else, let him propel Seattle forward into the 21st century, where bike commuting has a chance to be more common.