Sharing The Road With Bicycles

Most of the signs and striping is done along the first designated bicycle route in Omaha that is designed to make riding a bicycle to work a little easier.

If you have ever tried to ride your bike to work in Omaha, you know what kind of challenge it can be. The lack of east-west trails makes getting downtown very difficult. But the city is trying to change that.

Creighton University student Marco Svoboda doesn't mind riding his bike along Burt Street near 34th. But some other places he rides make him nervous.

"I'm kind of concerned about getting over as far as possible," says Svoboda. "Sometimes I'm riding more or less in the gutter, just because I'm not confident that the motorists there are going to share it with me."

Todd Pfitzer is the traffic engineer for the city of Omaha. "The folks in cars are going to have to start understanding when they see a bicycle on the road [the cyclists] have a right to be there as well."

The newly completed route takes cyclists between 16th and capital in downtown to the Benson business district.

In a few places along the route, such as 16th Street between Capital and Cuming, driving lanes have been reconfigured to make room for bicycle lanes. But most of the route uses signs and symbols on the pavement to help bicycles share the road with other vehicles.

Sarah Johnson is the manager of Greenstreet Cycles at 13th and Mike Fahey Street near the Qwest Center. She rides her bike to work on a regular basis and knows how important it is to ride in the street.

"It's not safe to be on the sidewalk as a cyclist," said Johnson. "You need to be in the street. I've heard about more accidents happening with cyclists coming on a sidewalk then I have in the street. Because if you're a motorist and you're getting ready to take a right, you're looking to the left. And if someone's coming on the sidewalk in the other direction, [the motorist] is not looking for anyone on the sidewalk. So be in the street, take your lane and be smart about it."

The next designated bike route should be done this fall. It will run along 16th Street and connect downtown with the Henry Doorly Zoo.

When all five bike routes are complete, they will stretch 20 miles, connecting downtown and midtown with the Keystone Trail.

For a map of the all the proposed bicycle routes you can click here.

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