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Is Lawrence a bicycle-friendly community?

Asked at Sunflower Outdoor and Bike Shop, 802 Mass. on August 2, 2009

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Photo of Emily Schoelle

“For the most part, I think Lawrence is really bike friendly. It’s worse when the students are in town. I don’t think a lot of them understand what it’s like to be in a biking community.”

Photo of Deborah Altus

“Not really. I just think cars are not very respectful of bicyclists. I wish the city could do more bike lanes and more trails.”

Photo of Juan Gonzalez

“Generally, but I think it could be a lot more bike friendly. Certain parts of town are not as accessible to bikes. There are not a lot of bike lanes on the east end of town. It’s still probably one of the friendliest in Kansas, I’d say.”

Photo of Joshua Dorton

“Yes, it is more bicycle-friendly compared to other cities I’ve lived in. They have more bike lanes.”

Comments

RoeDapple 5 years, 4 months ago

The ones taken out of the dumpsters are more appreciative than friendly. Most are too (two) tired to be friendly.

Leslie Swearingen 5 years, 4 months ago

I agree with Roe. The bicycles I encounter tend to be silent as well. I can't tell if they are feeling moody, mad because they are left outside, or just shy. Seriously, we need to have a day set aside when everyone who has a bike shows their love. p.s. I would never of thought of this angle had it not been for Roe.

jumpin_catfish 5 years, 4 months ago

The bikes are ok it's the riders I have an issue with sometimes. I understand there are bikes on the road and they have right to be there but they also have a responsibility to use the road in the same way motorist are required to such as obeying traffic laws. Too many incidents to list but the question could be worded: Are Lawrence bicyclist friendly and responsible in their use of the road? I imagine most are but it's the few idiots that give everyone else a bad name just like idiots behind the wheel of a car or truck.

parrothead8 5 years, 4 months ago

My bicycles are friendly, so long as I ride them on a consistent basis. They get cranky when they sit still for long periods of time.

Seriously...Lawrence seems like a bicycle-friendly place to me, but I've only lived here a little over a month. Every other place I've lived (20+ locations in six states) has been less bicycle-friendly than Lawrence.

More bike lanes would be great, but that doesn't happen quickly, so we need to do a better job educating cyclists how they can ride more safely in traffic, which starts with parents taking their children on bike rides (that's how I learned back in the day). That being said, people flying around in hunks of metal weighing thousands of pounds need to remember that they hold cyclists' lives in their hands. A quick move that can save an automobile driver 10 seconds in his day can cost a cyclist the next 50 years of her life.

For those of you who don't walk or ride often and spend most of your time getting around in your autos, I should point out one thing I've noticed that may cause cyclists in Lawrence to be viewed as "unsafe" riders: poor road conditions. Some potholes or patches of gravel that you wouldn't even glance at from your car can be major, dangerous obstacles for a bicycle. Oh, and that little white patch of concrete extending from the curb where you think a cyclist should be riding? That is where every piece of road debris winds up. There are also many holes in the concrete surface, leaving little room to maneuver. Also, that black stuff used to seal cracks in the roads gets soft on hot days, and that presents yet another problem for cyclists.

To cyclists (casual and serious): Bring common sense to the road with you. Be visible. Wear a helmet. Obey traffic signals. Be hyper-aware of traffic. And BE PREDICTABLE! There's nothing stupider than a cyclist deciding at the last second to weave across traffic...cars can't stop on a dime.

been_there 5 years, 4 months ago

I think the everyday bicyclists tend to be ok, it's usually the serious cyclists that seem to have a problem with sharing the road and following traffic laws. I have no problem with them using the sidewalk as long as they are willing to go around pedestrians. I would rather have kids on the sidewalk than the street, but parents need to tell them they need to go around pedestrians or to one side instead of pedestrians getting off the sidewalk for them.

been_there 5 years, 4 months ago

I'm not much of a bicyclist but drivers of cars need to watch when they drive through large puddles spraying cyclists and pedestrians with water. I have seen drivers deliberately swerve over to spray a five foot wall of water on a pedestrian waiting to cross the street. I wish just once an officer would see them do it and give them a ticket.

gsxr600 5 years, 4 months ago

^ Sounds like they are looking out for puddles

Leslie Swearingen 5 years, 4 months ago

I also have insectoid sunglasses, they have to be that shape to shield my eyes. I have found Lawrence to be a very friendly town.

Richard Heckler 5 years, 4 months ago

The vision from a car or truck is quite poor compared to that of a pedestrian or cyclist. Vehicles per se have many blind spots therefore drivers should consider slowing down and taking more time to look around.

It is because of these blind spots and careless driving habits that bring on the suggestions to wear eye catching colors when walking or cycling. Dark colors definitely blend with most all surroundings.

Pedestrians and cyclists have a ton of vision. However we cyclists and pedestrians must assume larger vehicles cannot or do not want to see us. In spite of the much better vision as a cyclist it is difficult to see cyclists at night without lights when behind the wheel.

As far as who owns the roads? All of us own the roads therefore must share the roads. Most all pedestrians and cyclists own vehicles which is to say we pay our fair share of taxes across the board.

August 17 public school opens for business. Due to cancellation of bus services many more children may well be walking or riding bikes. Be evermore on the look out.

purplesage 5 years, 4 months ago

Bicycle tolerant, maybe? Bicyclists are largely responsible. There is a contingent of them, however, who don't get it. They ride in the traffic lane, refuse to get over, tie up auto traffic and generally make a nuisance of themselves, especially when they are two abrest. There are lots of bike lanes. The roads with shoulder are OK but they really ought to stay out of the path of traffic, to the right of the white line, just for the sake of safety.

mom_of_three 5 years, 4 months ago

I would agree that there are bicylists who are largely responsible. But there are some I encounter on my way to work around campus who fly through stop signs (even though I am stopped, waiting for them to stop) and then those who ride on the sidewalk and nearly run you over, blindsiding you.

secrettoalonglife 5 years, 4 months ago

Considering I was hit by cars in Lawrence more times than anywhere I have lived since, it wasn't. Perhaps it's better now

tanaumaga 5 years, 4 months ago

purplesage (Anonymous) says…

Bicycle tolerant, maybe? Bicyclists are largely responsible. There is a contingent of them, however, who don't get it. They ride in the traffic lane, refuse to get over, tie up auto traffic and generally make a nuisance of themselves, especially when they are two abrest. There are lots of bike lanes. The roads with shoulder are OK but they really ought to stay out of the path of traffic, to the right of the white line, just for the sake of safety.

it's people like this that don't get it, and in fact are part of the problem.

lubyloo 5 years, 4 months ago

I bike occasionally, and when I do, I try hard to stay out of the way of traffic by using bike lanes when available and by (yes!) riding on the sidewalk when permitted (everywhere except downtown). Why do so many cyclists feel that they must ride their bikes in the street, rather than on the sidewalk? It holds up traffic unnecessarily. It's just a matter of courtesy.

gphawk89 5 years, 4 months ago

"Considering I was hit by cars in Lawrence more times than anywhere I have lived since, it wasn't."

Me too! Both on bike and on foot. Even so, I felt more comfortable riding in Lawrence than other cities I've lived in.

parrothead8 5 years, 4 months ago

@purplesage

You say: "There are lots of bike lanes. The roads with shoulder are OK but they really ought to stay out of the path of traffic, to the right of the white line, just for the sake of safety."

Where are these "lots" of bike lanes? And there is no way it is safe for a bike to ride to the right of the white line on most roads around here. The shoulder is the least-maintained part of the road...full of cracks, debris, and holes. That's the most dangerous place to ride.

I ride as far to the right as I deem safe, but drivers need to operate with the philosophy that a cyclist is not an obstacle in traffic, but part of traffic.

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