Recap: Red, White and Bike Ride To The Local Fireworks Show
I’m not sure about your neck of the woods, but our local fireworks display in Richardson is quite an event. So much that it becomes a traffic jam and parking nightmare. Last night, we organized a group bike ride (called Red, White and Bike) to our local event to see if we can offer an alternative solution to this dilemma. I have to say, it was quite a success.
Because we went by bike, we had complete passage through closed-off neighborhoods into Breckinridge Park, as well as our choice of parking and seating at the event. That alone, was enough to justify taking the bike over the car. But it wasn’t until we left the event, that we realized the significant difference with riding bikes. Within moments after the fireworks, every road was jammed full of cars trying to leave at once. On bikes, we were able to swoop past these cars, take a bike trail and bypass most of the traffic.
Eventually, we did have to share the road with the holiday event traffic – which was my biggest concern leading such a small, yet diverse, group. I have no problem taking an experienced group down main Richardson roads like Renner, but I was concerned with doing it at night with rushed drivers. I had originally scoped out a route that was farther and would have taken us much longer to get back to our starting point. However, the group was confident that the traffic down Renner Road was manageable, so we opted to take the more direct route. I’m glad we did.
To my surprise, the drivers were quite tolerant towards a small group of slow cyclists. Cars did whiz by us a few times, but nobody honked or yelled. The bikes were well lit, and because there were several of us grouped together, we were quite visible to traffic. The more direct route was flat, much shorter and got us back to the start sooner.
Here are the obstacles to driving a car to the event:
– Huge traffic jams – coming and especially going
– Extremely limited parking
– Blocked access to the park
Here are some of the obstacles to riding a bike to the event:
– Not kid friendly – as nice of a ride as is was, I would be concerned about taking kids into traffic a night.
– Limited back road access – unfortunately, that part of Richardson is hard to get to without taking major roads.
– Night riding with heavy traffic – although it was quite easy, I’m always concerned with bringing low-experienced riders into heavy traffic and low visibility.
As you can see, even though our ride was quite successful, we still have a lot of kinks to work out to make this a viable alternative for more people. I would eventually like to get the percentage of riders up so high, that the city would actually block off a lane of road for cyclists of all ages.