Why are we placing our priority on bikes over cars when more people drive cars than ride bikes?
It’s hard to imagine a City that has built more than 120 roundabouts being accused of prioritizing bicycles over cars, but this is one of the questions we often get.
Thanks to the Monon Greenway, Carmel has long been a destination point for those who bicycle for pleasure or exercise. Over the years, the City has aggressively added hundreds of miles of multi-purpose paths to a growing grid of connections that make it easier for all residents – no matter where they live – to have easy access to the Monon.
It’s important to note that in many cases, those trails have been built in or adjacent to private residential developments, paid for by the developers, rather than local taxpayers, as part of their design elements. But, we have also done our share of adding bike paths and bike lanes – and most recently, the dedicated bike lanes on Range Line Road – because we recognize that people today want choices.
True, most all of us drive vehicles. But a growing number of people also want the option of hopping on their bikes for commuting to work, going out to eat or to an event, or going to the grocery store.
True, most all of us drive vehicles. But a growing number of people also want the option of hopping on their bikes for commuting to work, going out to eat or to an event, or going to the grocery store. Carmel has consistently been recognized as a Bicycle Friendly Community by the League of American Bicyclists and for that we are proud. But as is the case in most of the decisions we make, there is also an economic development angle.
We know that today’s younger generation – the men and women we hope to attract to Carmel to fill the jobs that have been created by our economic success – are very much part of a new generation of those who do not have lives that revolve around a car. These are highly educated and highly employable future residents who have the luxury of choosing where they live before they choose where to work. And they are increasingly looking for bike-friendly, walkable and sustainable areas to live.
We want them to come to Carmel and help our local companies succeed by hiring the best and brightest. Because of that, we are doing our part to create a community that can accommodate cars, bikes and pedestrians in a variety of ways.
Based on the success other cities have had in growing vibrant communities, we know that if we want to compete for the best companies and the best jobs available in America, we need to continue to build a bicycle-friendly community that will help draw those who will keep Carmel on top of the many lists that showcase our City as a place to live, work and raise a family.
Authored by Laura Campbell, Ron Carter, Sue Finkam, Bruce Kimball, Kevin Rider and Jeff Worrell