by Carrie Stern
Well, it's National Bike Week and I noticed that the League of American Bicyclists has proclaimed Tucson and the eastern Pima County region a "Gold Level Bicycle Friendly Community." Hmm.
It looks good on paper, but I'm not convinced. A key factor that seems to be missing from their criteria is the existing driver attitude toward bicyclists. Infrastructure and public education programs are great, but the message doesn't seem to be getting across to many local drivers (as evidenced by their behavior on the road). I have seen bicyclists cut off, tailgated and verbally assaulted by drivers; news stories on auto vs. bicycle fatalities are sadly frequent fodder for the evening news.
Never mind the fact that bicycle theft seems to be a UA area pastime. My locked bike was stolen out of my backyard (!) several years ago, so it does make it difficult to enjoy the city's bike paths.
If this is "friendly", I shudder to think of what's going on in the Bronze cities.
What do you think?