What's So Scary About Bicycle Infrastructure?

4068337603_3c402f6acc.jpgBetter bicycle infrastructure is no threat to trucks. (Photo: Wayan Vota via Flickr)

Statements made by U.S. DOT Secretary Ray LaHood in recent weeks — including one regarding "the end of favoring motorized transportation at the expense of
non-motorized" — have gotten a lot of favorable coverage from members of the Streetsblog Network. But they’ve caused apparent consternation and anxiety in other quarters, including the trucking industry. You can find a variety of arguments on the new DOT position at the National Journal’s Transportation Expert Blog.

Today, network member Cyclelicious responds to some of the backlash to LaHood’s words, pointing what should be obvious: being in favor of bicycles as transportation doesn’t mean being against trucks. Here’s part of what he says:

American Trucking Association President Bill Graves is correct in telling us, "These [livable] communities will not be livable without an efficient highway system and trucks to deliver the food, medicine, clothing and other necessities that make walking and bicycling possible."

Transportation policies that encourage more dense development means money that previously was spent to serve sprawling outlying communities can now be spent on fixing the highways we already have. Policies that encourage "alternative" transportation for commuters means more room on the highways for trucks to deliver their goods.

Bicycle Transportation Examiner Adam Voiland has more links to Republican anti-bike rhetoric.

More from around the network: Human Transit on the difference between light rail and streetcars. Sustainable Cities Collective asks whether we should "’can’ the car or ‘green’ the car." And Copenhagenize itemizes the folly of bicycle licenses.

  • They don’t want to share the road with bikes. They’ll have to get over it.

  • Very good point. Sometimes many of the arguments stem from a lack of education on the finer points of the issues. Many don’t see the big picture. It is our responsibility to not be defensive and argumentative but to present even the most basic facts so that it makes sense for everyone. In the perfect world it would actually make sense for truckers and cyclists to work together to get more cars off the road, making “necessary” transit more efficient.

  • JamesR

    I think a distinction must be made between private, single occupancy vehicles and delivery trucks. I don’t think anyone is arguing that the goods delivered via truck keep the city functioning, though I wish the truckers would find a way to do it without forcing me to choke on their noxious fumes during my bike commute. SOVs are another matter entirely, as their spatial footprint (in the aggregate) is not compatible with healthy urban density.

  • I put moving freight by trucks in the same category as flushing the toilet with drinking water. It’s just one of those dumb things we do for no logical reason.

  • Albert

    As much as I don’t like riding a bicycle near trucks, at least trucks, as a class, contribute to a city’s economy, somewhat justifying their share of negative impact. And that’s more than can be said for private cars, as a class

    Yet, during the congestion pricing debate, a scary politician like Anthony Weiner put the entire blame for traffic congestion on commercial trucks. He wanted them to shoulder the entire responsibility of congestion pricing and bridge tolls. He demonized them for double parking (so, where *else* can they park to do their business when the legal spaces are full with long-term private squatters?) and he actually proposed restricting commercial trucks to nighttime (i.e., non-commercial) hours – which would make us truly the city that never sleeps! Give me streets that encourage safe, efficient, economy-contributing trucks and restrict private (i.e., non-contributing) cars and I’ll ride much happier.

  • I can’t believe that the trucking industry doesn’t understand that the real obstacle to the efficient delivery of goods is all the unnecessary SOVs (single occupancy vehicles) clogging up the roadways.

    They should stop being so reactionary and think about it for a second before they come out with statements like that.

  • The Alaska Trucking Association came out in support of the Anchorage Bike Plan because it means less congestion. Bike infrastructure and shipping of goods can work together.

    “If improving Anchorage’s bike network means fewer vehicles on the road, that’s definitely a plus, said Aves Thompson, executive director of the Alaska Trucking Association.

    Read more: http://www.adn.com/2010/03/20/1192613/two-wheeled-travelers-pumped-for.html#ixzz0jbOzoESA

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