Encouraging Cycling: Building Infrastructure for a Better Future

When the $20 million bike path on the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge was first proposed, there were doubts about its success. However, recent observations indicate that the path is attracting cyclists and pedestrians, showing that “build it and they will come” may actually hold true. While cycling may not be accessible to everyone, whether due to financial constraints or physical limitations, there are individuals who are drawn to this alternative mode of transportation.

The government’s promotion of electric vehicles is commendable in efforts to combat climate change. However, even with the reduction in carbon emissions, vehicles still contribute to road congestion, accidents, and rising car insurance rates. Near misses and daily occurrences of drivers disregarding crosswalks emphasize the risks cyclists face on the road. According to a recent study, between 2011 and 2020, there were 1,410 vehicle accidents in Marin involving cyclists, resulting in the deaths of nine cyclists.

The fear of accidents has led some individuals to abandon road cycling altogether. However, there is hope in the rise of alternatives such as fat-tire electric bikes, which help reduce the number of cars on the road. Additionally, upcoming housing developments in Marin that prioritize walkability, cycling, and access to public transportation may further contribute to the reduction of cars on the road.

For many, having a better quality of life is a priority. The ability to walk or cycle to everyday activities like grocery shopping or dining out can significantly enhance one’s well-being. Efforts to improve infrastructure with cyclists in mind reflect a growing recognition of the importance of alternative transportation modes.

It is encouraging to see the positive steps being taken in Marin to accommodate cyclists. The success of the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge bike path suggests that there is demand for cycling infrastructure. By investing in and prioritizing the needs of cyclists, we can create a future where cycling is a viable and safe option for transportation.

Source: Vicki Larson’s So It Goes opinion column in Marin Independent Journal