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Forward application letters and resume indicating post applied for to: [email protected] . and came away somewhat the worse.” Accompanying the post was a satellite image of South Congress Avenue with a skull and crossbones photoshopped over the intersection where the accident occurred. He ignored the fact that the driver was elderly and accidentally hit the gas instead of the brakes. An accident like that could have happened with or without a bike lane. But Summer is on a mission, and he can’t resist turning someone’s accident into an opportunity to soapbox. There’s really only one factor that makes streets safe for bikesmore cyclists. In cities where bicycle infrastructure is embraced, cyclists fair well. After doubling the number of bike lanes in New York City over the last three years \(including a lane through cent while the accident rate remained the same. Wiley Norvell, communications director for Transportation Alternatives, a group that advocates for bike lanes, said “documentation shows every time you triple the number of cyclists in a city, you halve the crash rate.” Dallas is finally changing its tune. A grassroots group called Bike Friendly Oak Cliff, which aims to transform the urban neighborhood by building bike lanes, found an ally in City Council member Angela Hunt. She worked to replace Summer as Dallas’ bike coordinator and move him to another division of the planning department, where he awaits retirement. The North Central Texas Council of Governments granted Dallas $300,000 to plan an overhaul of its cycling infrastructure, including a network of on-street bicycle lanes. With a small but vocal cadre of supporters, Summer continues to stir dissent from within the walls of city halland has managed to divide the cyclists who would benefit from the new plan. The clash can seem almost comical. On Oct. 21, Hunt and fellow council members donned bike helmets for a ride to City Hall to support the updated bike plan. Bike Friendly Oak Cliff organized the event. It was cold and rainy, but hundreds converged on City Hall on two wheels. As Hunt outlined the bike plan update, enthusiasm filled the misty air. When she mentioned cycling lanes, someone in a group of vehicular cyclists booed her. OTHER TEXAS CITIES are riding right by Dallas. Last year, Austin approved a plan to install nearly 900 miles of bike lanes by 2030. The city recently made it illegal JANUARY 8, 2010 to turn right across a bike lane if a cyclist is present. In Houston, new bike coordinator Dan Raine says, “All I’ve been doing is cutting ribbons.” The city recently installed 15 miles of bike trails and will begin building a bike link from downtown to the Heights neighborhood this spring. El Paso is a national leader in bicycling. Every Sunday during spring and summer, the city shuts its Scenic Drive for a ciclovia, and the road morphs into public space for cyclists and pedestrians. As Dallas has fallen behind, citizens have picked up the slack. The city had long refused to build bike lanes in the hip urban neighborhood of Oak Cliff. So last spring the residents did it themselves. Late at night, with spray paint and stencils, the dissenters painted “sharrows,” images of bikes and arrows, along street sides. While not official bike lanes, sharrows indicate that bikes belong in the street. While these vigilante methods can reduce overall public support for bike infrastructure, they tell city officials how frustrated urban bikers are. The day after the sharrows were drawn, I rode in the Oak Cliff Art Crawl, a bicycle tour of area art galleries organized by the nonprofit Bike Friendly Oak Cliff. On beat-up old bikes, we pedaled past Oak Cliff’s tiny taquerias and swank bars. When it was time to ride home, I followed a long string of cyclistsnovice and experienceddown Oak Cliff’s freshly painted, bike friendly streets. CI Ian Dille is a freelance writer based in Austin. He is a contributing writer for Bicycling magazine. but had nothing to do with the article naming Dallas the worst city for cycling in 2008. Dallas cyclists take the lane. PHOTO BY TREY KAZEE “Every time you triple the number of cyclists in a city, you halve the crash rate READ THE BLOG of Bike Friendly Oak Cliff at bikefriendlyoc.wordpress.com
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