The Twitterverse. A vast expanse where I have connected with all sorts of great people. Dena Driscoll and Marni Duffy are two such people.
I’m pretty sure it was Dena who first caught my attention with a photo of her young kids packed in a bucket in front of a huge bicycle. Kids on bikes? That’s better than cat memes.
Dena and Marni care a lot about bicycling infrastructure because of the people riding with them — young kids.
Do road engineers who insist on building dangerous streets hate kids? I don’t know. Maybe.
I do know there’s no excuse for the junk infrastructure our public agencies build.
But I digress. Let’s keep the focus on the moms for now. This was a fun show. It’s probably the closest thing to a voyeristic experience you’ve had with this podcast. Feels like we were just hanging out with a microphone turned on.
I know you’ll enjoy it. (Unless you’re the clown responsible for killing bike lane projects in your hometown. If that’s the case, your ears are gonna bleed.)
origins: was the bicycling lifestyle nature or nurture?
Dena and Marni both live in Philadelphia, PA. They’re both married and have young kids, and are the snarky brains behind the Give Mom a Bike Lane blog.
(Please apply some peer pressure to encourage them to keep posting!)
The moms take turns sharing their bicycling stories. Although their current situations are quite similar, Dena and Marni arrived by very different paths.
If you’re an advocate of freedom and personal choice, then pay close attention to this. You’ll realize how modern transportation engineering squashes liberty.
the target audience
I was curious who Dena and Marni had in mind as their target audience: the street designers/builders or other parents?
But what they’ve found in Philly is that everyone is the audience. Engineers, business owners, politicians, cops, and (perhaps especially) advanced cyclists.
Like most places around America, people still get fussy about on-street parking. It’s amazing how many people choose to live in cities and expect to have luxurious and convenient automobile parking.
The moms talk a bit about the challenges balancing curb space for empty cars with pavement space for riding bikes.
transportation vs. recreation
If you take away one thing from this episode, please let it be this: bicycling is a means of transportation.
Yes, it’s fun to ride bikes. Your face can’t help but smile when you’re pedaling (except maybe not in some of those steep Church Hill areas in Richmond, VA). But riding a bicycle is also an efficient way to travel short distances.
Local, state, and federal agencies routinely fund massive highway expansions as “transportation improvements”. Even now, in 2015, walking and bicycling is considered by many decision makers as recreation.
Those precious transportation funds would have a far greater benefit to your community if they were improving bicycling infrastructure.
From home to the library…the pool…back home again. We shouldn’t be forced to use a car for all our short trips!
Infrastsructure. We cover a lot of ground here. Bike stencils (ahem…sharrows…), striped lanes, sidewalk-riding, trails, protected bike lanes…
Here’s the fundamental problem: modern American street design is dangerous. There’s no debate. 30-40,000 deaths every year are plenty of evidence.
Dena and Marni describe typical challenges on the streets of Philadelphia. You’ll be able to relate to their stories, trust me. Even if you aren’t riding with young kids, I’m sure you have streets near you that match their descriptions.
Protected bicycle lanes.
That’s all I’m going to say. After listening to this episode, you will start fighting to get mom a [protected] bike lane!
Connect with Dena Driscoll & Marni Duffy
They’re active on Twitter: https://twitter.com/bikelanemom
And the blog is here: Give Mom a Bike Lane!
Dena’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/bikemamadelphia
Marni’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/marnibrewster
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