Commuting in Volusia County

In Today’s East Volusia News Journal, Phyllis Salmons offers a positive article about bike commuting.

Commuting to work on a bicycle is more than a dream for some introduces us to two Embry-Riddle professors: Bob Fleck who has been commuting by bike for 45 years and Jason Aufdenberg who doesn’t own a car.

Said Aufdenberg: “Just think — no car payments, no gasoline expenses, no car insurance, and no car maintenance. My bicycle expenses, including tune ups, tires, tubes, and lights, run approximately $100 per year.”

Aufdenberg has either biked or walked to work and school for the past 14 years.

I’m impressed.

The article mentions the realities of bike transportation:

…inconsiderate motorists, time limitations, busy routes, long distances, dealing with kids, nasty weather, arriving sweating and smelly, flat tires, carrying a briefcase or laptop, and safe parking.

“I wish we had the mindset that Europe enjoys — share the road,” said Fleck, who has taught numerous summers in Europe for ERAU’s Study Abroad Program. “(Here) I’ve ridden a bike all around Europe and never been yelled at or told to get off the road.

Agreed. Cycling advocates like to point to places in Northern Europe, like Copenhagen. But I’d rather point to places like Italy. I’ve been to Italy with my bike twice. I’ve ridden on rural roads as well as in downtown Rome. I did ride on one MUP, but otherwise just roads with no bike facilities and very narrow lanes. Italians are vocal, and they like to honk at each other, but I was never honked at because they didn’t believe I should be on the road. In rural areas especially, I felt more than respected. Cyclists are second only to soccer players in hero status. Also, the car is not king in Europe, so car drivers don’t have a sense of entitlement that they are more important than everyone else.

Here’s where I’m going to look a little cross-eyed at the article. Most people don’t understand the pros and cons of bike infrastructure, but it really is in our interest to pay attention to this stuff.

With increasing attention being paid to global climate change and rising fuel prices, many government agencies have intensified interest in exploring ways to encourage alternative forms of transportation, such as bicycles.

Daytona Beach Zone 5 Commissioner Dwayne Taylor said construction of a new multi-use sidewalk/bike path is scheduled to begin in the fall

Think about it. You have a culture that is barely-to-not accepting of cyclists on the road and motorists who believe cyclists belong on the sidewalk. How does building a sidewalk/bike path help this problem? So now you reduce quality of service by putting cyclists in an unsafe, slow cycling environment, increase hostility toward those who prefer to ride in the road where it is safer and faster and pat yourself on the back for accommodating cyclists.

Stop it. Just stop it! FerthaluvaGod, FIX with the cultural problem, don’t coddle it at our expense and then act like you’re helping us.

1 reply
  1. fred_dot_u
    fred_dot_u says:

    I also saw the article in the morning paper and had very similar thoughts about the sidewalk/bike path. I see no need for one and instead see it as a set-back, just as you do. If I ride where there’s a dangerous “bike lane” which is usually just a narrow strip of shoulder, I expect and get more yells from uninformed motorists than when I do on roads with no shoulders. I prefer to ride on one of the busiest stretches of roadway in eastern volusia county because it is six lanes and no shoulders. It’s safer and more enjoyable for all the reasons you know.

    Do the Cycle and Pedestrian Planners have any real impact on our situation? If they do, are they aware of vehicular cycling or are they the bike-lane proponents that herd us into the gutter?

    Years ago, I was contacted by some person from the media. I’m not sure why, as my brain cells are rapidly losing capacity. I was asked about a road project which is nearly finished. The question was about a bike trail set away from the road and if I would use it, or would use a bike lane. At the time, I was a gutter bunny and felt a bike lane which was part of the roadway would have been great, especially since this particular area is excessively loaded with motor vehicle traffic during drive-out and drive-in times and even on the off-times, it’s too heavy. It is soon to be completed, but I expect only striped shoulders, but four lanes. Four lanes means one of them is available for my use, allowing other traffic to pass safely.

    I was ignorant “back then” but I’m willing to bet that so many people were and are. Keri, you do the world a service by teaching your skills to others and I hope to join your kind next year. Parents are responsible for teaching their young, but they are not aware and probably will never be.

    Can you imagine suggesting to a school system that someone teach their young cyclists how to ride safely IN THE STREET!!!! I can’t even get the local bike shop technicians to consider it.

    It’s a curious thing that one of the people interviewed in the article pedals to ERAU. The cycling students at that school are among the largest component of wrong direction riders in this area.

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