If you love to ride your bike, either as a means of commuting to and from work or because of the simpler pleasure of biking, you will be thrilled to learn about the biking improvements the city of Austin is looking to make. In fact, the City of Austin’s Street Smarts Task Force, which was launched by Lance Armstrong and Mayor Will Wynn back in March of 2007, has put together a report that includes 100 recommendations for improving the ride of bikers.
Among the recommendations, the report calls for putting in new street markings as well as bike route signs. It also identifies a need to offer cyclist safety education courses and to implement a requirement for motorists to maintain a distance of at least three feet from cyclists.
Making changes for cyclists isn’t all about safety. In fact, the city’s bicycle program manager, Annich Beaudet, stated that “Our goal is to implement usable and effective bicycle facilities.”
The city is also interested in improving its cycling options as a means of getting more cars off the streets. In order to do this, the task force recommends reaching out to all types of bikers, including those that might enjoy off-street rails or those that might like to spend time on a hike-and-bike trail
“When you look at how to get more people commuting [by bicycle] and how to create more recreational access, you need to create recreational access for all levels of cyclists, including people who are newer,” said Sara Krause, who is the chairwoman of the task force as well as a competitive cyclist.
In order to complete their report, members of the task force actually rode every single one of the bicycle routes currently in place in Austin. They then created a database that detailed the conditions as well as the hazards of these roads. In that way, they were able to develop recommendations based on current conditions as well as on best practices for cyclists.