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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

August 11, 2013 at 8:01 AM

Bicycle safety in Seattle

Infrastructure will benefit everyone

John Pucher, famed Rutgers professor and scholar of bike safety and bikeable cities, rides down Dexter Ave. N. with Robin Randels of Seattle. [Ellen M. Banner, The Seattle Times.]

John Pucher, famed Rutgers professor and scholar of bike safety and bikeable cities, rides down Dexter Ave. N. with Robin Randels of Seattle. [Ellen M. Banner, The Seattle Times.]

I could not agree more with the conclusion of your editorial regarding the urgent need for more and better bicycling infrastructure in Seattle. [“Seattle is playing catch-up on bike safety,” Opinion, Aug. 8.]

If you look at cities that have built such infrastructure, you see that it leads to a virtuous cycle. Protected bicycle lanes make less-experienced, less-aggressive cyclists feel safer on the roads. More cyclists on the roads bring safety in numbers, as drivers become less oblivious and more conscientious.

Moreover, less-aggressive cyclists and official infrastructure help set new norms of good behavior — once cyclists are recognized as legitimate traffic, they become less willing to disregard traffic laws (whereas under the current “Wild West” mentality, cyclists are trained to look out for themselves at all costs, traffic rules be damned).

Seattle truly is playing catch-up, and it is never more obvious than when one looks at bicycling injuries and deaths in Seattle as compared with Portland, or New York. New York City invested in bicycling infrastructure, and saw a corresponding 73 percent decrease in the average risk of serious cycling injury over 10 years.

Thank you for taking a stand in support of safer roads and neighborhoods.

Antoine McNamara, Seattle

Anarchist bikers disrupt safety

As a longtime downtown businessman and resident of Bainbridge Island, I’ve witnessed plenty of bicycle traffic incidents.

If people really want better bicycle safety, the bicyclists should consider their role in the solution.

Ride four abreast? No problem. Go the wrong way on one-way streets? Sure. Hop from the street to the sidewalk, or weave between lanes of cars with no signal or concern for the reactions it causes? You bet.

In fairness, not every person on a bicycle is an irresponsible, I-can-do-whatever-I-want, self-important, I’m-saving-the-ecology, anarchist jerk. But the ones who are create a hostile relationship with drivers and pedestrians alike.

Bicycle safety starts in part with obeying the rules of the road when you’re on your bike.

Rick Stanton, Bainbridge Island

Urban cycle track a step in the right direction

Bikers use the urban cycle track on Linden Avenue North from North 130th Street. [Mike Siegel, The Seattle Times.]

Bikers use the urban cycle track on Linden Avenue North from North 130th Street. [Mike Siegel, The Seattle Times.]

I want to thank you for your well-written editorial.

I originally moved here in 1989 because it was one of the top five cities in the country for bicycling and recycling at the time. I have seen Seattle fall down to 10th place.

One great thing that happened was in June we got our first urban cycle track, a divided concrete barrier bikeway. This is what Dexter Avenue needs.

Until it is upgraded, it will continue to be a major danger. Thank you for getting the word out.

Victor Odlivak, Seattle

Comments | More in Politics, Seattle, Transportation | Topics: bicycle safety, infrastructure, rules of the road

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