Bike share before traffic calming, cart before horse

Louisville is about to launch a great bike share program. As we turn loose novice cyclists on our urban streets we need to remember that Louisville established in 2016 new records in traffic deaths and pedestrian deaths. The danger of urban streets is the velocity of motor vehicles. This is not news. “A pedestrian has a 95 per cent survival rate when hit by a motor vehicle driving at less than 20 mph. At less than 30 mph their survival rate is 55 per cent. At 40 mph, survival rates are only 5 per cent.”  (Ashton and Mackay 1979)

5% survival at speed between 30 and 40 mph

55% survival at speed between 20 and 30 mph

95% survival at speed under 20 mph

Urban traffic must be calmed. Louisville’s best traffic calming tool is a bicycle in the travel lane – the travel lane, not the bike lane. Before loosing the bike share program (and possibly losing some of our citizens and visitors) Louisville should scrub out the urban bike lanes, putting bicycles in the urban travel lanes. That act, coupled with converting one way streets to two way, converting urban traffic signals to flashing red or yellow but never green, concentrating TARC service “inside the Watterson” (beyond the Watterson is hopelessly car dependent), and establishing dedicated bus lanes will create a safe urban transportation system.

These are low cost, budget-smart, urban and people-friendly measures.