Everyone poops and everyone bikes.
This is the first in a series of short bios of neighborhood cyclists.
Meet your neighbor, Anita, she bikes too.
Anita Mills: 66 yrs, Gardening Consultant, Bishop Arts Neighborhood
1. Why do you ride?
Health – recreation
2. Type of riding?
Short errands in neighborhood, exercise
3. Where do you ride?
I ride in the neighborhood, mostly. After years of duking it out with cars, I now prefer “safer” routes, with bike lanes. That’s why I’ve been a constant lobby-er for cycle tracks and separated bike lanes. I love biking trails like the Katy Trail, but it’s a hassle to put my bike in the car, then drive (where do I park?) to the Trail, then unload bike to ride. Seems counter productive. But there does not seem to be any way from my house to the trailhead without either riding with traffic, or going into the Trinity River Bottoms, which I do not perceive as advisable for a single female biking alone! (Yes! I have opinions!)
I took a Traffic Skills 101 course a couple of years ago (that’s when the picture was taken). I can ride the streets, just like I did in 1977 when I first got to Dallas. And I can ride with cars (just think like a car and seize the lane). But what I realized was that if I hit a snag, or my wheel caught in something, the car behind me would run me over. I’m just too old for that. 🙂
4. Why is cycling important to you?
Cycling is so important for health as well as reducing the polluting vehicles on the road. We don’t need more roadways, we need more cycle-tracks and trails. We need to remove barriers to cycling in Dallas.
5. Why is cycling important to the community?
Cycling also puts one more in touch with their surroundings. We can greet people, notice new businesses, plants and houses….smell the flowers so to speak. It slows us down in this rush-rush rat-race.
I lived for 11 years (1965-76) in Davis, California, where “bike is king.” The campus was closed to motorized vehicles, and it is a large campus (measured in square miles, not acres). Further, there were 25,000 people, and 20,000 bicycles! There were bike lanes everywhere, and drivers were used to navigating streets with lots of bicyclists out – in all weather. I might add, speed limit in the city was 25 mph.
6. What improvements do you hope to see for cyclists in Dallas?
Definitely more bike trails, and cycle tracks, as well as bike lanes that are separated by more than just striped pavement – how often do you see a car move into the bike lane to make a right turn? Slowing traffic down, and prominently marking bicycle paths and lanes are very important.
When I sat a table with a League Cycle Instructor a couple of years ago, we talked with a lot of seniors who wanted to (1) learn to ride a bike; or (2) wanted to ride with their grandchildren. But they didn’t feel safe on the streets. We must work to make the streets attractive to seniors (and mothers with children).
Thanks Anita for allowing us to ask you a few questions and also for your opinions and suggestions!
-Bike Friendly Oak Cliff