It is true that San Jose wasn’t the first city in California to create a bike plan designed to increase the number of bike commuters, but it may be the most far-sighted in the state. In fact, many people wonder if there’s any way it could be used in other parts of the state or if it is simply too ambitious.
Environmentalists argue that encouraging bike riding is the best way to help significantly reduce carbon emissions and reduce urban sprawl at the same time. Safety advocates point to the fact that if we are going to increase the number of bikes on the roads, then we need to take steps to reduce the ever-increasing number of bike accidents. Does the Bikeways Project of San Jose do that? Let us take a look.
What is the Bikeways Project?
First, a look at the Bikeways Project. It was started with a single goal: Increasing the number of bike trips within the city limits of San Jose by 15% by 2040. That was significantly enough, but they wanted the first 5% increase to come within the first three years of implementation. The project involves making more room for pedestrians and drivers on roads.
How Specifically Will the Plan Work?
Though much of the plan is still in the “dreaming” phase, the idea is to create more than 400 miles of bike paths on the streets of San Jose, along with an additional 100 miles of off-road paths that will be overseen by the Parks Department’s Trail Program. Though overall the plan seems overly ambitious, it is broken down into several smaller, bite-sized projects such as the Branaham Lane Bike Lane Project, Central San Jose Shared-Lane Making Project, and many other projects.
The idea is that anyone can get anywhere within the city by using a bike path, thus increasing bike usage and reducing accidents – but will it help? Looking at research from the rest of the United States, as well as overseas, it seems clear that adding dedicated bike paths can lower accidents. In fact, experts believe that it can reduce accidents and fatal bike accidents by as much as 90%.
Could This Be Implemented Elsewhere?
If this plan really reduces bike accidents by half as much as they predict, then it will be a smashing success by anyone’s standards. In uber-busy cities like Los Angeles with untenable traffic, the addition of safe biking options could literally change the landscape of the city. At The Law Offices of Larry H. Parker, we believe the rest of the state is likely to keep their eye on San Jose to see what the real impact is. If it is as planned, then other cities may follow suit.
If you have been injured in a bike accident in California then you may have legal repercussions. All it takes is a call to us at 800-333-0000 to request a free legal consultation.