According to the League of American Bicyclists, Lawrence, Kansas is a bronze level Bicycle Friendly Community and “is a leader in encouraging cycling and educational efforts to improve the safety of the activity,” and “The city stands out among cities in Kansas and the Plains region for its high level of bicycle use. According to the 2000 census, 1.3 percent of Lawrence’s population regularly bikes to work—almost three times the national average.”
But what do residents think?
In a post on the Media & the Environment blog (a collective effort of students and professors at the University of Kansas), Denzyl quotes Michael Hajdu, a member of the Lawrence Bicycle Advisory Committee:
“In America, the leading cause of death is lethargy and bad dietary habits. Americans are obese and diabetic and what we should be doing is looking at healthier living. Cycling is free. All people have to do is get out their cars and start riding their bikes.”
That’s all well and good if you have a bicycle friendly city, something that Lawrence is not. Cycling along 23rd Street, the pedestrian and bicycle trails end abruptly at different intervals. It occurs along many other streets and often there just aren’t any trails at all. It’s a situation that Dr Hajdu knows all too well.
“I found that being on the (Lawrence Bicycle Advisory) committee, that we are fighting an insurmountable battle because the entire society is so entrenched in the belief that cars are the only way to get around. And the city is limited in putting any effort into changing things.”
If its citizens are this discouraged, does Lawrence’s status as a Bicycle Friendly Community really mean anything?
How do these compare to Lawrence?