The gears are always shifting in Cincinnati’s ever-evolving bike community, but here’s a quick progress report that proves Cincinnati cyclists are doing a whole lot more than spinning their wheels.
The Department of Transportation added five miles of bike lanes around the city last year, making Madison Road, Mitchell Avenue and parts of Spring Grove Avenue accessible to cyclists. Hopefully, the Spring Grove lanes will be supplemented once business owners in Camp Washington stop worrying about losing some on-street parking. The city’s also waiting to hear back about a $500,000 federal grant from OKI (Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana Regional Council of Governments) which would be used to install cycle tracks on Central Parkway. The Riverside bike lanes (running from Bains to St. Andrews streets) are set to be all striped by July 1.
Whether you’re on two wheels or four, look out for eight billboards around Cincinnati beginning May 1 with the big, bold message, “Give bikes 3 feet. It’s the law,” which mandates that car-drivers have to give cyclists at least three feet when passing — a much-needed reminder for drivers eager to zip around slower cyclists. They’ll be dotted around town, especially on streets with the highest car and cyclist traffic, including Liberty Street in Over-the-Rhine, Riverside Drive in the East End and McMillan Street in Walnut Hills.
Queen City Bike’s wildly successful initiative, Queen City Blinkies, was launched in reaction to the closely interspersed deaths of two Cincinnati cyclists, Ronald Richardson and Andrew Gast, in fall 2012, but since then the donation-funded program has become a potent indicator of our community’s dedication to cyclist safety and driver awareness; now, they’ve earned enough funds to buy 1,000 more blinkies (front and rear visibility lights for your bike), which will be distributed (and installed) for free at various locales. Keep tabs on the next series of giveaways at queencitybike.com.
It’s an inconvenient truth: Cyclists endure a good bit of harassment, threats and general boorishness on the road that really, really sucks, but it often happens too quick-ly or feels too negligible to make a call to the police. Modeled after Portland’s successful “B-Smart” website, the city just launched its own bike safety website (cagismaps.hamilton-co.org/csrcincinnati) under the umbrella of its customer service website, which acts as a hub for cyclists to report bicycle crashes and incidents of harassment. The city’s Bike Transportation Program will monitor the aggregated data, and trends/repeat offenders will be reported to the police, who can then make targeted efforts to catch the culprits in the act.