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May is National Bike Month - Is Rochester ready?

  • National Bike to Work Week, which was scheduled for May 13-19 this year
  • National Bike to Work Day, which was scheduled for May 17
  • National Bike to School Day, which was scheduled for May 8

The League of American Bicyclists, which sponsors these events, also identifies states and communities across the country that are “bicycle friendly” and looks for opportunities for improvement. How does Rochester compare?

A bronze-level bicycle community

The league selects communities they consider to be bicycle friendly and gives them a gold, silver and bronze status. As of fall 2018, Rochester is a bronze community.

There are many things Rochester does right for bicyclists and bicycle advocacy. Some of the ways Rochester positions itself as a bicycle-friendly community include:

  • An active bicycle advocacy group
  • An active bicycle advisory committee
  • Bicycle-friendly laws and ordinances, which Rochester ranks as “very good” compared to “good” in most silver-ranked communities
  • A current bike plan that is being implemented
  • A comparatively low rate of crashes and fatalities – in Rochester, there are 293 crashes and 3.05 fatalities per 10,000 commuters, which are both lower than the average silver community

Where can Rochester improve?

However, Rochester is not a silver community for a reason. Some key points of improvement include:

  • More bike facilities on high-speed roads. The average bicycle community has bicycle facilities on 35% of their high-speed roads, while Rochester only has 4%.
  • Higher transportation budget for bicycling. Only 3% of Rochester’s transportation budget is spent on bicycle-friendly travel, compared to 11% in silver-ranked communities.
  • Better bicycle education in schools. The league marked Rochester as a “needs improvement” community for bicycle education amongst its young riders.
  • Improved Bike Month events. Rochester’s current involvement in National Bike Month is “acceptable,” so the city could increase its efforts for awareness.
  • Additional staff. The city’s bike program staff to population is one per every 134,000 residents. The league recommends hiring a Bicycle & Pedestrian Coordinator or creating a new position.

While Rochester’s rate of crashes and fatalities are lower than other communities, these changes could help bring those rates down even lower. Any reduction in bicycle accidents is worth the effort.

If you have been injured while riding a bicycle or as a pedestrian, contact Klampe Law Firm.

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