The best cities for bicycling have significant regional rails linked
to a network of major streets with striped bike lanes and signed
bike routes. They have fixed up their streets to provide a safe
and comfortable ride, and they have installed secure bike parking
to ensure your bike is still there when you come back to it. They
may also have reduced vehicle speeds and flows to make residential
roads more conducive to riding, and they may require new office
buildings to incorporate parking, showers and changing facilities.
Most likely these communities are also trying new ways to improve
conditions for bicyclists by redesigning intersections to give cyclists
priority, experimenting with colored bike lanes, or installing traffic
lights with a special bicycle logo.
All of these activities fall under the general heading of designing
communities for bicyclists and there is now a wealth of information
available to help communities follow the lead of cities such as
Portland, Ore., Davis, Calif., Seattle, Wash., Gainesville, Fla.,
Tucson, Ariz., and Madison, Wis.
Don't forget, however, that these communities probably also publish
a bike map, promote bicycling through events, teach bicycle safety
in schools, integrate bicycles into the transit system, and enforce
traffic laws that affect bicyclist safety. Information on these
other critical elements to making a community bicycle-friendly are
available elsewhere on this web site. In the following sections,
you will learn about the specific designs of on- and off-street
facilities that can make communities more bicycle-friendly.