PG: As more workers make the commute by bike, cyclists campaign for rights, improved safety

Stephen Taylor, 48, who commutes to Downtown from Glenshaw five days a week, adjusts his helmet before parking his bicycle at a garage on Smithfield Street. Larry Roberts/Post-Gazette

Article about driver-cyclist relations and a new advisory committee for the eastern neighborhoods

Between an in crease in trails and bike lanes in and around Pittsburgh and the higher price of gas, more and more people are opting to leave their cars in the driveway and hop on a bike.

It’s not just those who live near Downtown — suburbanites are realizing the benefits of bike commuting, too.

“There are more people riding from farther away than people intuitively think,” said Mike Boyd, a Chatham University professor of music. He commutes from his home in Wilkins to the Shadyside campus three or four days a week.

He said there’s a misconception about the “bikeability” from suburban neighborhoods into the city; he and other cyclists from the eastern suburbs said they hope to change that.

“This is a popular thing, it’s not a marginal thing,” he said. Still, better pavement, colored bike lanes, and physical barriers between sidewalks, bike lanes and car lanes would ease some fears about biking and improve relations between drivers and cyclists, Mr. Bricker said. “There are a lot of things we can do to make things better amongst all the different road users. “When our streets are designed to accommodate more users in a safe way, those relations will improve.”

About 10 cyclists from Wilkinsburg, Edgewood, Swissvale, Forest Hills, Wilkins and Churchill have formed Share the Road East, an advisory committee that wants to identify bike-friendly routes between eastern communities and routes that would link to bike trails that go into Pittsburgh.

Mr. Boyd, 33, said that while advocacy for bike commuting has boomed in Pittsburgh, bike racks and designated bike lanes pretty much cease to exist once you get outside the city limits.

He often bikes to Wilkins meetings, and he locks his bike to a fence outside the township building because there are no bike racks.

He said that Share the Road East hopes to add bike routes from the eastern suburbs to a map produced by Bike Pittsburgh, a bike safety and advocacy organization that focuses on the city.

Between the suburbs and the city, “there are a lot of doable routes,” Mr. Boyd said.

Scott Bricker, executive director of Bike Pittsburgh, agreed.

In the “inner-ring” suburbs, “riding a bike for transportation is a very viable option,” he said, but in “sprawl-oriented” places such as Cranberry, it’s nearly impossible to get to bike-friendly roads and trails without hitting a highway first.

Read the rest of this article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

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