04/29/2007: "Too Afraid To Bicycle, So Drive Instead"
I was dismayed to read in your recent news story, "What is the Driving Force On Road Design & Use" (or was it an editorial?):
“The problem for the current County Council is can they, will they, find a way to retain the country roads of the islands, while also providing walking paths and bicycle lanes for—let’s be honest here--primarily the tourists….”
So many responses spring to mind it’s hard to know where to begin.
You apparently don’t talk with the same people I do, many of whom yearn to ride their bicycles but fear for their lives on our narrow roads with speeding traffic (I’m one of them). Here we are, a lot of us just a few miles from town or wherever we need to go, but fear of traffic throws us back into our cars instead.
Many of our children would enjoy riding their bikes to school or elsewhere—which would give a lifetime boost to their health--but their parents are fearful of the traffic.
And walking! Think how many of us live within three miles of town, just one hour or less, and how many of us are retired and able to take that much time to get there. Or still working, but sufficiently concerned about our health that we would allot time to walk. But it’s no pleasure when you need to be constantly on the alert for cars and trucks.
Besides, enticing visitors to leave their cars on the mainland would lessen their impact on our roads, not to mention opening up spaces on the ferries. And if you’re a driver who’s annoyed by tourists on bicycles in your way, think how wonderful to get them off the road and onto a path.
Try thinking outside the (automobile) box and dream a bit about what life could be like with a hiking/biking trail available to you wherever you want to go.
There are 250 of your neighbors now on the San Juan Island Trails Committee email list. You might join them and see if there’s a way you can help. Check us out at www.sanjuanislandtrails.org.