By Chris Bain:
People in Buffalo may choose to ride their bike to work or school for numerous reasons. For some, it is a great opportunity to exercise regularly or save money. For avid cyclists, it’s a way to record miles. Others see biking as a way to help the environment. These are all great reasons to commute by bike – but not if the streets aren’t safe to ride on.
At GO Bike Buffalo, we envision a city where people of all ages can safely bike to work and school. We aspire to have parents in the City of Buffalo feel comfortable about allowing their children to bike to school and ensure our fellow citizens have realistic alternatives to automobile transportation.
I am an Intern at GO Bike Buffalo this summer, but I attend Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. Before joining the GO Bike team, I hadn’t paid much attention to cyclists, bike lanes, or the culture of bicycling in general. Bicycling is not emphasized in my hometown near Dallas, Texas, so I was surprised to see the copious amounts of cyclists on the streets around the City of Buffalo.
I have only been riding my bike to work for the past couple of months in Buffalo, but I have met some people from Buffalo that have been riding their bikes to work since the 1990’s. I find this astonishing because even with the great work that GO Bike Buffalo has recently done to increase safety in the streets for pedestrians and cyclists in Buffalo, there are still many streets in Buffalo that do not have bike lanes and proper crosswalks. I can only imagine how treacherous the streets in Buffalo must have been for cyclists previously.
My main job this summer at GO Bike Buffalo is to promote awareness about bike safety and innovate creative ways to get the community involved with creating a safer and healthier environment. Justin Booth (Executive Director at GO Bike Buffalo) and I recently created a Bicycle Lane Request Form which allows anyone who accesses our site (gobikebuffalo.org) to electronically sign a form and write what street they would like to have a bike lane installed on. I thought this form would gain minor attention at most, but over 800 people have already signed it!
With this type of response in only a few weeks, I have come to one main conclusion: People in Buffalo want to ride their bikes. They just choose not to because they do not feel safe doing so. GO Bike Buffalo has given the community a chance to voice their opinion on what streets they want to ride their bikes on, and it is gratifying to know that I contributed to giving them a voice.
All of us at GO Bike Buffalo would love to see Buffalo become the most bike friendly city in the country, but this process starts with you. Please sign our Bicycle Lane Request Form so we can highlight the demand and prioritize locations to work with the City to build safe and well-designed facilities throughout Buffalo. Let’s come together and create a more bike friendly city: