Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Jacksonville: The Honors Keep Rolling In.

On October the 19th The League of American Bicyclists release their list of Fall 2009 Bicycle Friendly Communities. And Jacksonville was included at the bottom of the list with an Honorable Mention.

Really? Jacksonville a bicycle friendly community? Weren't we just recently denied that distinction by the same group? Ok, so Jax is not officially a bicycle friendly city. But, to paraphrase a quote from Monty Python's Holy Grail, according to the League of American Bicyclists, "We Got Better."

When asked, Meghan Cahill, Director of Communications for the League of American Bicyclists cited the following as justification for the Honorable Mention:

"Highlights of the application included the 3’ passing law promoted on signage on JTA transit vehicles; a good percentage of roads with bicycle accommodations like bike lanes; the Bicycle Safety & Helmet Promotion Bike Fair in all 111 schools and the Mayor’s yearly Bike Month Proclamation."

"Kernan BV Recreational Path extension, Talbot Island - Timucuan Bike Trail extension. (Bike Jax Note: Timucuan Bike Trail is dead until additional funding can be found and is also solely for recreational use.)

FCMPO Commuter Services Program

Bike to Work day promotions

JTA Bikes on Buses program

Traffic skills 101 classes"

Which appears to be an impressive list of accomplishments. That is until you actually try and ride your bike somewhere only to find yourself stymied by bridges you can't access or frustrated by the fragments of bike lanes that disappear as fast as they appear while being honked, yelled, threatened and overall abused by Jacksonville drivers. Is Jacksonville worthy of even a Honorable Mention as a Bicycle Friendly Community? I personally don't think so. Will it ever be? Yes, it will. I know the people working to make it so. And if those same people are allowed to follow through by our city and state leaders, I think in the next five to ten years Jacksonville will become a very friendly city towards those that wish to bike to work, shopping or play.


Abhishek said...

What a scam!
I hope it encourages the authorities in power to do more than the nothing they have done before.
I like FDOT making bike lanes mandatory on new construction though. I'd like there to be a stronger direction taken towards segregated bike paths and urban trails.

I wonder if sun setting the BPAC hurt the score at all?

Anonymous said...

Jax is a bike friendly city. I rode around all the time when I lived there. The key is to put slicks on a mtn bike and roll with that. when you do that you can jump on and off sidewalks to avoid cars and pedestrians. Use the sidewalks people, It's not like many people are walking on them.
Cyclists look say gay with their tight shorts and skinny tires.

The Bear said...

Having lived here twice (1980 to 1986, and back again in 2008, I can say there is some improvement in the bike lane count around town( hey city hall, bike lanes are about one word - connectivity) and the drivers, while still borderline evil, don't throw as many beer bottles and cans as they did in the 80's. I had to stop riding back then because of the redneck game of trying to get their side mirror as close to you as possible. I believe that negative reaction to bikers in cycle clothing is all latent and repressed homosexual tendencies - same as why they like watching the men in tight pants in football and baseball - see comment from Anonymous in this posting. Hey JAX drivers: I am not gay so don't get all excited and crazy about me being in tight black shorts - it really is about comfort.