Earlier this month, HGTV name Cleveland one of the top 10 bicycling cities in America. While this really isn’t bad news, it really isn’t fantastic news. If anything, it shows the lack of support for bicycles in America. For example, check out this video of Euclid Avenue’s bicycle lane:
Now check out a video of bike lanes in Amsterdam:
The difference in support for bike lanes in Amsterdam compared to America/Cleveland is enormous. Riding your bike is huge part of Dutch culture, and the infrastructure is so well designed that most citizens perceive it as safe enough to ride without a helmet.
Cleveland does have a passionate and loyal biking community. This month almost 400 people showed up to the Critical Mass ride starting from Tower City. That is a lot of bikes on the road at the same time. All those bikers show that there is a quite a bit of support and enthusiasm for Cleveland bicycles, but what we have in enthusiasm we lack in infrastructure.
Some of that infrastructure is currently in the works or in the design process. Plans to connect the towpath to downtown are almost complete, a multi-use path is now under-construction on the Hope-Memorial Bridge, and there are even talks about adding a bike lane to Detroit from W-25th to the Gordon Square Arts District. Hopefully, more ideas/plans develop to better help our city grow. In the meantime, I believe it is important to look to the Netherlands and see what they have already built. Being in the top 10 bicycling cities in America doesn’t really mean you are one of the top 10 bicycling cities in the world.