May 20, 2010 in Opinion

Editorial: Bike event encourages cooperative community


The Spokesman-Review Editorial Board

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When Spokane streets fill for Bloomsday or Hoopfest, proud organizers smile and think about getting all those recreational athletes to come back next year.

But planners of Bike to Work Spokane, now under way, are more interested in getting participants to return next week. And the week after that. And the week after that.

This is the third year for the event, and while sign-ups don’t begin to rival the tens of thousands who register for the community celebrations mentioned earlier, it’s noteworthy that several hundred residents are willing to leave their cars at home and commute to work by bicycle instead. That’s several hundred motor vehicles that, for a week at least, won’t be grinding up the pavement or fouling the air with carbon monoxide and other pollutants.

And it’s several hundred automobiles that won’t be jockeying with several hundred other automobiles to get into the left-turn lane, or out of it, or to gun it through the next intersection before the light changes.

The fact is that biking, walking and other alternative forms of transportation may not be for everyone, but the more people who do choose them, the better off the community is in general. The infrastructure will last longer between costly repairs. The air will be cleaner. The aggravation will be lower.

But for all its benefits, sharing the streets has the potential for conflict. To mitigate that, motorists and cyclists alike should learn the law, stress courtesy and forgo attitude. Many of us, no matter our mode of transportation, need to be as dedicated to meeting our responsibilities as to asserting our rights.

It’s a community, and we share it.

By encouraging more residents to adopt a healthier, more environmentally friendly form of daily transportation, Bike to Work Spokane provides an important educational service.

Bike to Work Spokane officials hoped to sign up some 1,700 participants by the time this installment’s activities are over.

We doubt the event will ever match the participation levels of Bloomsday and Hoopfest, but those aren’t fair comparisons. Bloomsday and especially Hoopfest are largely about competition. Bike to Work Spokane, in contrast, must be about cooperation.

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