Transportation advocates call for infrastructure with bicyclists, pedestrians in mind
While biking has become a popular mode of transportation, safety concerns remain.
While biking has become a popular mode of transportation, safety concerns are prevalent. According to data from the Virginia DMV, so far this year, five people have been killed while biking in the commonwealth. That’s a 150 percent increase from this time last year.
Now cyclists in Richmond are calling for more protected infrastructure to mitigate this and prevent further loss of life.
TRANSCRIPT OF VIDEO
TREY DUNNAVILLE: The community. I love riding with my friends, you know, going to different places, but it's definitely riding with my friends. That's definitely the most enjoyable part.
KEYRIS MANZANARES: Trey Dunnaville is a cyclist and President of the Richmond Area Bicycling Association. When biking, he says these concerns come to mind.
TREY DUNNAVILLE: I think about what's the traffic going to be like [out] there. Are there bike lanes that I can use? You know, those come up the most. Is there, you know, a trail that I can access when I'm riding, you know, what time of day it's going to be.
TREY DUNNAVILLE: We might run into a lot of traffic. I just don't know. I've not done the parade. So just making sure you all are aware of that.
KEYRIS MANZANARES: Dunnaville says although Virginia law requires drivers to pass bicyclists at a safe distance of no less than three feet and encourages sharing the road, this doesn't always happen.
TREY DUNNAVILLE: No, people do not always share the road. People are not nice about sharing the road but that's, you know, understanding that the road can be used for drivers, people in cars, and for bikes and for people walking or running. So, it's like, it's a road that can be used for everyone.
KEYRIS MANZANARES: Barry Greene, Jr. is a public transit advocate. Because of his commitment to the cause, he is currently without a car by choice, but biking in the city has its challenges.
BARRY GREENE JR: I share my location with my wife for one because hit and runs are very high, unfortunately. I also play music on a speaker on my bicycle. I use lights, I use anything that I can possibly use to ensure that I'm seen and I'm heard. Because there are a lot of distracted drivers on the road. And so, if I'm doing my best, I can make sure that I wear a Hi-Viz helmet, [that] I wear light colors. I do everything on the checklist to make sure I'm seen and it's just to take that extra precaution.
KEYRIS MANZANARES: Greene says changes need to be made to protect bicyclists and promote safety on the road.
BARRY GREENE JR: For one, I would like to see more protected infrastructure. We use cement for parking lots. I would love to see cement used for bike lanes. Bike infrastructure is people infrastructure, and I would love to commute more if we had these options where I knew I was protected more than just paint.
KEYRIS MANZANARES: Emily Monroe is the Community Engagement Coordinator for Sports Backers’ Bike Walk RVA.
EMILY MONROE: We're really infrastructure forward. You know, we feel like infrastructure is going to solve a lot of the issues. Statistically, where you see bike lanes, you have less fatalities and injuries from people involved in traffic accidents and drivers drive slower.
KEYRIS MANZANARES: Infrastructure changes include more protected bike lanes and crosswalks, and designing roads with people and bikes in mind, not just cars.
EMILY MONROE: So, we have a project that we host called the Richmond Bikeways Map, and it shows all the different types of ways to safely bike and walk around Richmond and sort of the surrounding areas. You can scroll through the website and see different types of bike lanes. It helps you start to identify what they look like. So, as you're riding them, you get a feel for, "oh, this is a standard bike lane,” or "oh, I'm behind little bollards, this is a protected bike lane."
KEYRIS MANZANARES: With the uptick in fatalities involving cyclists in our state, Dunnaville says driver awareness is key to preventing tragedies.
TREY DUNNAVILLE: Outside of more cycling pedestrian infrastructure kind of being built, it's more driver awareness, so people understand what it means to ride safely by a cyclist. You know, giving them a three feet distance, understanding the laws that apply to cyclists when they're out on the road, and just really be kinder to people who are just out on their bikes. Like, it's a shame how mean people can be.
KEYRIS MANZANARES: When it comes to bike safety, Dunnaville says he hopes...
TREY DUNNAVILLE: That everyone can go on a bike ride and get from one destination to the next without being harassed or injured.