According to an interactive traffic fatality map by ITO World, only four cyclists died in Norman between 2001-2009. The first was on I-35, the second on Porter. The third occurred in 2006 near Alameda and the fourth in 2008 on Flood. Upon first glance, I thought that only four fatalities within the span of a decade was a pretty good number to have in a city of about 100,000. Then I saw that both victims of the latter accidents were 14 years old. As anyone who has been 14 before knows, it is an age where riding a bike is liberating, free of parallel parking tests, and full of rides to the park to play with friends on carefree days. With that knowledge in mind, the death of one 14-year old is one too many.
As an elected body, the city council not only has the obligation to improve the lives of the citizens which it governs, but also preserve them by providing a safe environment in which to live. With the installation of bike lanes in a rapidly growing city, both of these duties would be fulfilled.
Our mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, students, and professors would not only have a wonderful city to bike in, but the security of mind that they are safe to bike in it. With every road connected to an arterial street, there should be a bike lane. With every widening of an arterial road, there should be a bike lane to accompany it.
This is the position that the city council should adopt, and this is the position that my organization, Friends for a Bike-Friendly Norman, endorses. I hope that you agree, and if you do, that you will like our page on Facebook and sign the petition posted on the page which I will present to the council to make us all, drivers and cyclists, safe.
Thanks, and happy riding.