Letter by Elaine Uang:
I was six when I first hopped on a bike. I turned left out of my driveway, down the steep road, and panicked because I didn’t know how to brake! Luckily I lived on a cul-de-sac and just crashed into a neighbor’s yard at the bottom of the hill.
Biking became a part of my life after that – my bike has been my primary transportation mode since the 8th grade, when the Cupertino Union School District stopped bus service to their junior high schools. Today, my husband and I have two girls – aged four and six – and try to show other families that you can still bike for transportation, even with kids.
Unfortunately, close calls have also continued to be a part of my life. I’ve been almost doored several times and witnessed trucks barreling down on my husband on steep inclines on Highway 1.
Luckily, I haven’t been significantly injured on my bike, but I do feel lucky – For a community of so many collective overachievers, it’s shocking to see how underachieving our cities have been with respect to bike infrastructure. And the impact of this lack of infrastructure is seen in the bike mode share figures. In Palo Alto, where I live, nine percent of trips are taken by bike – this should not be considered platinum level. Given our flat topography and the most comfortable weather in the country, we should rival the best bicycling cities in the world.
But bike lanes don’t just happen – they are the product of a lot of hard work and support by champions, advocates, elected officials, and professional staff. For good biking infrastructure to materialize, cities need visionary leaders and a lot of everyday citizens who care about cycling as transportation and want to bike safely everywhere. And it takes an organization like SVBC to keep track of local developments, know when action is needed, and mobilize those citizens.
Join me in supporting SVBC today so that our area can achieve its bicycling potential and close calls can become a thing of the past.
Co-founder of Palo Alto Forward, Mother, Bicyclist, SVBC Member