Sacramento’s Cycling Infrastructure
Sacramento has all the features of a perfect bike city: the terrain is pancake flat, the wide streets are laid out in a grid and easily navigable, and the weather is mild most of the year. There are many vibrant, livable neighborhoods close to the downtown core, and those who want to escape the city can ride along the beautiful 30-mile American River Bike Trail.
However, if you asked any Sactown cycling enthusiast whether they think Sacramento is the bicycle utopia it appears to be, you’d most likely get a very clear “no.” Most would go on to say that Sacramento is not even close to entering the ranks of the best-known bike-friendly cities, such as Portland and nearby Davis.
Very, very few Sacramento citizens – about three percent – commute to work by bike. The vast majority use their cars to pick up groceries and run other errands, even when bicycling would be faster than driving.
Why is it that the seemingly perfect bike city is dominated by cars? Sadly, the city is just not bike-friendly. In fact, the League of American Bicyclists gives Sacramento a “silver” rating on bicycle friendliness, which is the fourth lowest of the league’s five levels.
One major problem for cyclists is the lack of a continuous, cohesive, and safe network of bike lanes. Yes, it’s true that bike lanes are prominent within the city – there are 240 miles of them – yet critics say many of these routes fail to serve as effective travel arteries. Some end abruptly in multilane raceways, like I and P streets, leaving cyclists floundering among high-speed vehicles. Others lead into dangerously squeezed roadways, where cars, trucks, and buses speed by only inches away.
These problems are even worse in Sacramento’s lower-income neighborhoods, where more people depend on bikes to get around, yet bike lanes are sparser and road designs prioritize car traffic flow over the safety of cyclists and pedestrians.
The good news is that legislators are aware of the city’s bicycling crisis and have come up with a master plan to improve the situation: a multi-million dollar bike share program, new bike lanes and trails, more dedicated bike parking, etc. The bad news is that the plan has been in the works for years and still is not really off the ground. In other words, it may be a long time until Sacramento becomes a bike utopia.
If you or someone you love has been injured in a bike crash in Sacramento, please don’t hesitate to reach out to the Sacramento bicycle accident attorneys at Wilshire Law Firm for immediate legal assistance. You may be entitled to compensation for medical bills, lost wages during recovery, pain and suffering, and more. Contact our offices today and let us fight to net you an optimal case outcome.