If Schoolhouse Rock did a cartoon for how bike laws come in to being it would have to be several hours long.
In many cities new bike laws or proposals or even suggestions take a long twisted road from idea to reality. Of course there is probably no precedence or process to follow so it’s pretty much a trampoline covered in thumbtacks the whole way.
Take the opening line from this article as an example: “The Rhinelander Parks, Buildings and Grounds Committee on Monday unanimously approved a draft ordinance to establish a Bicycle/ Pedestrian Advisory Committee.”
In this town a committee, which seems to have nothing to do with transportation, is thinking about creating a new committee for the sole purpose of making suggestions back to the first committee which may or may not pass those suggestions up the municipal food chain. Is the a formula for success?
Meanwhile down the road in Menlo Park, they are considering three different recommendations. That sounds great but the meeting between bike advocates and the city council was to gauge interest. That expression is suffering from a severe case of commitment anxiety.
Here is San Francisco we’re not worrying about the details so much as making broad meaningless statements. The Vision Zero Program, seriously, that’s what it’s called, is supposedly going to stop cyclist and pedestrian deaths by following “best practices. Because we all know that it’s buzz words that save lives.
This can’t all be blamed on the cities though. It’s a matter of process rather than intent. It’s also a matter of treating bikes as something different and alien. Nothing can get done for real until bikes become part of the norm.