We didn’t want this past week’s Westword cover story to go unnoticed: Sam Levin reports on how Denver became a bustling bike City yet it’s still struggling with the transformation. The story tells an important tale that we Coloradans should be proud of: we started the first citywide bike sharing program in the nation (DC had a pilot program but Denver’s was the first full scale program). The result of this and other efforts to improve biking infrastructure resulted in a 57 percent increase since 2005 in the number of persons biking to work. But as Denver’s then-Mayor Hickenlooper rolled out the new program, there were (and still remain) many challenges to be dealt with to transform Denver into a bike friendly City.
“You have to plan for the whole city — it’s not a little bit here, a little bit there,” [John] Rotheram [,a bike planner from the United Kingdom,] says, explaining to [Jonny] Hayden [, the chair of the Mayor’s Bicycle Advisory Committee,] the “cultural shift that cities have to go through” to make urban centers accessible and safe for cyclists with a linked network of streets. “It needs to be a whole strategy [with]…connections and access.”
The report goes on to say that incidents of road rage involving cyclists in the Denver Metro area appear to be on the rise.
In order to improve the situation it will take both efforts to increase bicycle awareness and infrastructure in the area. We’d like to restate what we said earlier that the State and municipalities should clarifying the law with regard to rules that bikers must follow. If Denver is really serious about improving bike safety and encouraging the use of bikes, it should consider the more ambitious projects and whether it can create more dedicated infrastructure for bicyclists. Perhaps Denver’s officials, if they haven’t already, should look for inspiration to the bike paths created by Mayor Enrique Peñalosa in Bogotá, Colombia.