Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Biking on rural roads to improve?

From the Sacramento Bee, 12.11.07:

Woodland to Davis via bike road?
Each week, hundreds of bicyclists ride through the farmland of Yolo County on rural byways that connect the cities of Woodland and Davis. Some bike for pleasure. Others commute to work or school. All share the danger of being hit by cars and trucks that blow past them at highway speeds on narrow county roads.

In October that danger became a reality when 60-year-old Woodland bicyclist Francisco "Willie" Lopez was struck and killed by a car on County Road 99 during his daily ride to work at UC Davis.

In the wake of Lopez's death, the county plans to widen sections of some routes favored by cyclists. At the same time, proposals are emerging to create a route only for bicycles and electric vehicles from Davis to Woodland. A Roseville engineering firm has proposed a paved thoroughfare connecting East Street in Woodland with F Street in Davis via a railroad right of way. (Read more.)
Davis is already widely acknowledged as having the most bicycling-friendly streets in the U.S. The roads outside Davis? Not so much. Fairly standard rural roads in California, i.e. freeway speed traffic on two-lane thoroughfares.

In the wake of a tragic incident, some Yolo County leaders are pushing for improvements to better accommodate bicycling commuters between Davis and its neighbor seven miles to the north, Woodland. The article suggests there are more than 1,300 people presently commuting between the two communities, which are separated by a mere 30-40 minutes of pedaling over flat terrain. And many who now drive might bike, if only conditions were more appealing.

Image: Paul Dorn. Rural road in Yolo County near Davis.
Visit: Editorial: Fear Factor, Sacramento Bee.
Visit: Paul Dorn's Bike Commuting Tips

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