As most of you know, cyclists fall into one of four distinct categories: strong and fearless (<1%), enthused and confident (7%), interested but concerned (60%), and no way, no how (33%). I definitely fall in the 60% group. I love to ride Omaha’s trails on Ivy (my hybrid) and I’m confident in my ability to do so. HOWEVER, I’m not confident or enthusiastic about getting to the trail from my neighborhood. Raise your hand if you’re with me!
Julie falls squarely in the enthused and confident group and I’m envious. How do I join that group? It’s like the cool kid group in junior high that I so desperately wanted to be a part of, but could never quite fit in. I REALLY, REALLY want to be enthused and confident about riding on Omaha’s streets, but the path forward seems elusive. Julie tells me her confidence came with experience. Great, but how am I supposed to get experience when fear prevents me from cycling on the streets in the first place?
BUT, if I lived in Hickman, Nebraska, I’d be on my way! Look at those delineators! ❤
I could really build my confidence with a protected bike lane or trail. I would ride to work, to the store, to the library, out for coffee...oh, I could go on and on. But, alas, I don’t live in Hickman. Or Lincoln, which has the only true protected bike lane in Nebraska. So, until Omaha commits to a different way of doing things, I guess I’ll continue to be a part of that 60% group and stay on the trails for now.
But I’ve learned so much about Complete Streets in the last few months and there’s hope! Bike Walk Nebraska has been working with Beatrice and Norfolk on developing Complete Streets policies and Omaha’s has been in place since 2015. Omaha also just recently released design guidelines which are out for public comment. Progress! I’m excited at the prospect of safer streets in Nebraska. This is why we do what we do. Maybe I’ll be one of the cool kids yet.