A couple of weeks ago, I decided to bike to the LensCrafters closest to my Colorado Springs apartment to get my glasses tightened. As I biked, I spent a lot of time on sidewalks -- the only option on roads with no bike lanes, where the cars that flooded past would have struggled to avoid hitting me if I had attempted to assert my rights as a fellow vehicle. Even when I did have access to a bike lane, there were a few patches of ice that forced me to swerve into the road. And there were several nerve-wracking moments where I had to pedal as quickly as possible across multiple lanes of fast-moving traffic through whatever short gaps I could find. At some times I felt like a nuisance or a burden, at others like a rabbit among wolves.
In Colorado Springs and many other cities, the car reigns supreme. Why should a hunk of planet-choking, noisy, expensive metal take precedence over the inoffensive, zero-emission, calorie-burning bicycle (or pedestrian)? And conversely, how can we expect people to walk, bike and utilize public transit if this is the system they face whenever they try to go somewhere? Historically, Colorado has spent 95% of state transportation dollars on road infrastructure, crowding out the methods of travel that would create more sustainable cities. We need our political leaders to support multimodal transportation, and we especially need them to shift the focus away from cars and toward a system accessible to all travelers.
Editor's note: Letters to the Editor are not edited nor fact-checked.