Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Mapping Shreveport's Bike Lanes



Shreveport does not have bike lanes.  There are a dozen or so sharrows, such as the one pictured above, that alert motorists to be on the lookout for cyclists and remind motorists that cyclists and drivers alike must share the roadway.  These sharrows are scattered around downtown and the periphery, mainly on Marshall and Crockett Streets, and many have faded to the point that they are almost invisible.I’ve said before that I’m actually against full-on bike lanes; in most cases, I believe—and some research has shown—that sharrows, when implemented properly, are more effective at reducing accidents between cyclists and motor vehicles than fully marked bike lanes.  However, one thing that marked bike lanes do a great job of, is letting cyclists know which streets are best for cycling.  In addition to these marked lanes, many cities have designated bike routes with signs for the cyclists, helping them to stay on roads that are better suited to cycling.

With the absence of both bike lanes and city bike routes, cyclists in Shreveport-Bossier are left to discover the best routes on their own, sometimes with deadly consequences. For example, I had to learn the hard way that the Shreveport-Barksdale bridge is not really a viable place to cross the river, and that regardless of my trip origination or destination, the river should be crossed using the Texas Street Bridge.  Well, after two car-free years in Shreveport, I think I’m qualified to help.  On the [hipster] Shreveport tumblr, I’ll start a collection of recommended bike routes to and from popular destinations.  These are the routes I use, and I’ll add my own bits of knowledge about road surface conditions, traffic, etc.  To find these posts, click the link at the top of the tumblr page, or search for tumblr posts tagged “Shreveport Bike Routes".

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