Boise Bike Week: On Bike to Work Day, Concerns About Safe Bike Culture 

click to enlarge Left to right: Sara Hegerle, Grant Black, Thor Black and Annie Black at the Boise Co-op for Ride Your Bike to Work Day.

Harrison Berry

Left to right: Sara Hegerle, Grant Black, Thor Black and Annie Black at the Boise Co-op for Ride Your Bike to Work Day.

Dozens of Boiseans wrapped up Boise Bike Week at the Boise Co-op the morning of May 20 for the annual Ride Your Bike to Work Day. Sipping coffee and eating pastries provided by the Co-op, riders happy to turn out in force.

"It's always a good day when you can get there on two wheels, on your own power," said Annie Black, who sat with her two children, Grant and Thor. 

The weather was overcast, however, and so was the mood, in light of the deaths of several bicyclists and pedestrians in the preceding weeks. Since the beginning of April, there have been at least nine reported collisions between motorists, cyclists and pedestrians that have resulted in injury or death. Earlier this week, Boise Bike Week organizers held a ride of silence to honor those who have died on Boise roads in the past year.

The rash of collisions had some at the Ride to Work Day event concerned about bike culture and the relationship between cyclists and other road users. 

click to enlarge - The Boise Co-op provided coffee, breads, pastries and other treats for commuters on Ride Your Bike to Work Day. -  - HARRISON BERRY
  • Harrison Berry
  • The Boise Co-op provided coffee, breads, pastries and other treats for commuters on Ride Your Bike to Work Day.
"I don't like riding on busy roads that don't have a nice, wide lane," said bike commuter Barry Takeuchi, who lives near the intersection of Eagle and McMillan roads but rides his bike daily to his job at the Idaho Transportation Department. 

Black said there was tension between some road users, but that tension might diminish if cyclists and motorists got to know each other better.

"I would introduce drivers to bikers to create a common understanding," she said. "It's not about who rules the road."

Caroline Rea, who works from home but rode her bike to the Co-op to participate. She's from Scotland, where she said "everybody grew up cycling." The big difference between the United States and other places she has lived, she said, is that Americans tend to lean on one mode of transportation above all others.

"Everybody's so reliant on their cars," she said.

For others, however, the event is the kickoff for the seasons when it's easier to transition from riding one's car to work to riding a bike.

"I love Bike Week because it gets me excited for biking in the summer," said Hegerle. 

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