What Would A Bicycle Friendly Peoria Look Like?Guest Post by: Daniel Waite, Peoria resident and community organizer
It could be a safer and more reliable city for alternative forms of transportation while transforming the way people travel from one place to the other but it also has the power to completely transform and reincarnate a depleting economy and positively affect whole neighborhoods.
Many people in our city have developed the point of view that a bicycle is merely a toy or a tool used to help the less fortunate get around. While this has a sliver of truth, it has also propagated to encompass an image of urban cycling while members of our community who have a strong passion for cycling sit on the curb in despair.
Some would say that it isn’t fair and we have been forgotten. I call your bullshit and say its our fault as a community to have allowed this to become the current ideal and the problem we have to deal with on a daily basis. Please spare me your empathy and take a stand this time.
We can start by riding our bike. RIDE! RIDE! RIDE! Ride everywhere! Get up 20 or 30 minutes earlier in the morning so you can commute on two tires rather than four. Ride the 3 miles to the grocery store to get that gallon of milk while getting a some exercise in. We can take a stand by riding and abiding by the law that protects our basic rights as bicyclists. Ride on the right side of the road with traffic and have the proper lighting or visuals while riding at night.
Its easy and simple. The only way we are going to show motorists that we should also be on the road with them we need to actually be ON THE ROAD with them. No matter how rude or stupid some people can be we have to muscle forward and show them we mean business. Stand strong and make your presence known!
After my little motivational lecture I think its time talk more in-depth on what cycling has to offer an everyday citizen. Things you should consider while pondering your decision to ride or drive.
Cyclists on average live two years longer than non-cyclists and take 15% fewer days off work through illness. (CTC)
On the same urban route, car drivers were exposed to more airborne pollution than cyclists, despite the cyclists’ higher respiration rates. (Rank, J., et al., 2001)
The bicycle industry is estimated to support 1.1 million jobs and generate nearly $18 billion in federal, state, and local taxes. (Outdoor Industry Foundation, 2006)
Aside from these positive benefits to your health and wallet, you also have the freedom to go where you want when you want without the hassle of traffic or parking. It is a great way to move around freely with very little effect to the environment while pleasantly exploring your city and interacting with your community.
It has been proven that the more bicycle and pedestrian traffic on a street the more businesses will proﬁt and this will also give them a reason to be open during non-work hours. With that happening the city can and will be a desirable place to spend an evening with your family and enjoy the amenities of a vibrant community.
Imagine a flourishing downtown Peoria on a warm summer night. Riding to the riverfront with your family and friends, enjoying some ice cream and watching a movie or live music in the park. Or being able to just cruise through the streets safely while enjoying an atmosphere full of arts, dining and events surrounding families. It’s a large but simple task. It all starts with you (:GETTING ON YOUR BIKE:)
While many people have ambivalent or cynical ways of looking at us and our views, it’s the basic fact that these are our rights and we should defend them. If you’re looking for a way to become a part of something and stand up for what you believe in then please take action and RIDE YOUR BIKE EVERYWHERE.
*If you have a vision for Peoria, or if you have some thoughts you would like to get off your chest, contact me about becoming a guest blogger!