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Thoughts on Our Bike-Friendly City

In my work at Bicycle Collective, I’ve met fellow bicycle advocates throughout the state and heard their experiences biking in their respective cities.

Just in the past month I’ve heard horror stories from a friend in Ogden about having glass bottles thrown at her from a vehicle whizzing past.  I’ve heard from dozens of mountain biking enthusiasts in the Salt Lake area who have had their $3,000+ bikes stolen from their garages.

No, Provo is not immune to these sorts of problems; it has its fair share, but I’d like to offer a positive outlook from personal experience.  Though we have much to improve, Provo is a bike-friendly city.

I’ve bike commuted since 2012 and have seen the worst of it; cyclists speeding toward me head-on riding the wrong way in the bike lane, inattentive drivers swerving into my travel area, and that guy in the lifted pickup who laughs as he drives past you, rolling coal all the way.  We’ve all had one too many encounter with that guy.

But while completing my annual post-finals century ride around Utah Lake last week, I was more than pleasantly surprise to not have even one negative encounter with a motorist.  Keep in mind this includes suburban sprawl like Eagle Mountain and tiny farming towns like Elberta, typically seen as bicycle un-friendly.

While riding, I reflected on my past two years of bike commuting in Provo and tried to recall any sour memories, but I couldn’t!  In fact, since returning from my mission in 2015, I haven’t had a single negative experience with a motorist that was caused intentionally.

Some may think it’s just luck, but I believe that our presence, as normal people who choose to transport ourselves bike, is noticed and respected.  Thanks to the incredible support from local agencies like Provo City, Provo Bicycle Committee, and my fellow staff and all our 400+ volunteers at Provo Bicycle Collective who jointly push for bike safety and even dedicate a whole month to celebrating cycling, biking to and fro has never been safer or more fun.

Take a ride around the city today and realize what a great place we live in.  Yes, Provo has shortcomings to overcome before becoming a model city, but it is a bicycle-friendly city and becoming more so each day.

 

Austin Taylor

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