Atlanta Bike Tour
This past Friday we took a bike tour of the bike facilities that Atlanta has to offer. We used some of the very high end facilities, like the 10th street cycle track, the Eastside trail, as well as some simple bike lanes, like those on Edgewood Ave and 5th street. Overall the facilities that we traveled on are pretty comfortable with the exception of some choke points. One of those choke points that jumped out to me on the ride was the crossing of 10th street from Myrtle street by Piedmont Park. The crossing is kind of confusing to cyclists and automobiles alike with just a RRFB. Another place that stuck out to me as problematic was the transition into the Luckie Street cycle track from Centennial park. Bikes have no indication as to how to treat the intersection where they have to cross to the left side of Luckie Street from the right across the intersection to enter the cycle track.
While I think the route we took for our tour was mostly comfortable, unfortunately I know from experience that where we went is the best of the best that Atlanta has to offer. There are many more places in Atlanta where it is extremely harrowing to ride and many of those places would be ideal for connecting cyclists to destinations if the infrastructure was not so poor. But I do have hope that the bike infrastructure in Atlanta is improving and know that there are lots of big plans in the works to make biking more comfortable in the city!
Videos of the Dutch
From Mark Wagenbuur’s videos it is obvious that cycling in the Netherlands is completely different than cycling in the United States. The first thing that really jumped out to me in the videos of people riding in the Netherlands was the complete and total separation of bikes from car traffic. There was not a single shot in the videos of modern Netherlands where bikes and cars were using the same travelway. I ended up watching the video about the way that the Dutch design there intersections. Unlike the United States, the Dutch make sure that their conflicts occur in locations where both users can easily see each other. All of the intersections in the Netherland also had bike specific signals.
The perception of cycling in the Netherlands is also very different than in the United States. The first two videos, the one about Mark traveling in the United States and the one about the history of Dutch bike paths, are very telling about the perception. In the US video, Mark talks about how all of the cyclists seem to racing around even when commuting, whereas in the Dutch videos everyone is very relaxed looking. The history of Dutch bike paths shows how the Dutch reacted almostly completely opposite to the beginning of mass motorization than the United States. While here we tried to solve our safety issues by making our roads bigger, the Dutch took a different approach and took space away from cars and moved to build bike infrastructure.
Watching all these videos makes me very excited for our trip this spring break but I am scared I am going to have optimistic view of Atlanta cycling improvements shattered as we see the best of the best when it comes to biking.