I was under the impression that roundabouts benefited cyclists as much as
pedestrians. I know some bikers feel uncomfortable when car drivers don't quite
know what to do the first time in a roundabout. But I think Tony has cited data
that show fewer and less harmful accidents to bikers when roundabouts are adopted.
My take is that roundabouts (and sidewalks/paths) benefit both bikers and
But Jon's point is well taken. We should make it clear that walking is very
important, not just improved when biking is improved (although it may be).
"Richard H. Bernstein" wrote:
> I've been considering Jon Kaplan's letter, and I'd like to share my own
> thoughts. First of all, I am one of the cyclists on the committee. I
> commute to work and enjoy cycling long distances between towns. So, I am
> biased from the other direction. Jon's argument is a good one. I've
> heard it before--from Tony Reddington. We would benefit more people for
> the money if we build sidewalks and roundabouts to encourage walking and
> cycling short distances, mainly in larger towns. Undeniable. However,
> I've not heard there are competing interests. That is, there's a law on
> the books about improving shoulders when road projects are undertaken.
> I've not heard anyone advance the notion that if they don't pave the
> shoulders, there will be more money for sidewalks and roundabouts. If
> there is no competition, then the discussion on shoulders, from a
> cyclist's or pedestrian's pont of view, is very important.
> Then, I'd like to offer a few reflections on Jon's argument, from the
> other side. I believe it is our place, as a committee, to form a vision
> of Vermont as a cycle-friendly state. Of course, this is self-serving to
> those of us who ride. so what. What would the state look like if cycling
> and walking were as important in the planning process as cars? Although
> sidewalks and roundabouts are of great importance in the total picture,
> to limit the discussion to them is way too narrow, in my opinion. To say
> the shoulder discussion is important only to a handful of Vermonters who
> cycle distances and to the bike touring industry ignores the importance
> of the bike touring industry to the economy. As rail trails have become
> a tourist destination and an economic boon to communities that host
> them, so a state the has a reputation for bicycle friendliness and
> safety will attract more of the kinds of tourists most of us would like
> to see.
> The action of creating a vision is the first step in the process of
> change. If we believe that , say, 10% of the trips under 5 miles should
> be made by bicycle or on foot, what would our streets and roads need to
> look like? I commute 7 miles to work. What should the roads on my route
> look like to provide for my safety? What I'm saying is that if we limit
> the discussion too narrowly, we may never create the changes most of us
> would like to see, though we might get more roundabouts and sidewalks.
> Bunky Bernstein.
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