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Local Leaders Discuss Wary Bikers, Family Rides on KUOW

Did you catch this KUOW segment on what it will take to get more Seattleites on bikes? (Listen here) The segment features a couple of our passionate Seattle Neighborhood Greenways leaders, Madison Park Greenways Bob Edmiston (also on our Board), and Wallingford Greenways Madi Carlson (she’s also our webmaster!)

Madi Carlson bikes with her kids.

Madi Carlson bikes with her kids.

Edmiston talks on KUOW about the characters he’s come up with to illustrate different sectors of the potential biker population.There’s Franz, in heavy spandex who will ride “anywhere, at any time, on any streets” as part of the “Tour de Franz”.  Franz represents about 5% of possible bikers. Then there’s Eddy, the seasoned bicycle commuter who takes bike lanes, wears reflective gear, and represents perhaps 10% of potential bikers, (75% of them men).

Finally there’s Wendy, the “willing but wary” bike rider, who represents about 60% of the population—those who would ride more if biking felt safer and was more convenient. “She’s a woman in her mid 30s,” says Edmiston. “She’s got some kids in a little burley trailer pulling behind her bicycle, she’s wearing ordinary clothes, she’s not wearing cycling specific clothing.”

For Edmiston, bicycle infrastructure can be evaluated with a simple question: “Would Wendy use it?” KUOW’s Posey Gruen describes what Wendy-friendly infrastructure might look like in Seattle: “It means bike routes with a comfortable separation from cars. It means safe intersections, speed bumps, green painted pathways, and clearly marked routes. It means making sure those bike routes are within a quarter mile of every home in Seattle.”

Neighborhood greenways are a huge part of the equation for safer and more convenient bike routes. Seattle Neighborhood Greenways is working towards a linked city-wide network of low-speed, low-traffic greenways, with clearly marked routes to parks and schools that even the most wary bikers among us would use.

Although biking infrastructure still has a ways to go, that isn’t stopping some of Seattle’s awesome family biking movement from taking to the streets. Gruen spoke to Madi Carlson as she rode to a safe streets event at Seattle Children’s Hospital with a group of  20 other adults and children. “They call themselves Kidical Mass” and bike along greenways routes and in large groups for increased safety. These are “friendly, family rides” says Carlson. Family Bike Seattle hosts Kidical Mass rides about once a month.

Thanks KUOW for your in-depth story about Family-Friendly, All Ages and Abilities biking and the streets needed to support us! Thanks Bob, Madi (and Davey Oil and Suzy too!) for spreading the word about safe streets for all with such enthusiasm and good humor!