Good news: there is a totally free way to make people be nicer to each other, and it’s time for the Herald and our local leaders to use it. There is no such thing as a cyclist, or a pedestrian, or a driver; we are people riding bikes, walking, and driving around town. Using the latter terms in our discussion about making community spaces safer actually helps us be friendly and cooperative. Really, it does. Bellingham is not a pioneer in transportation, which means we can learn from nearby cities like Seattle and Portland, which are already adopting this humanizing and zero-cost language. Seattle Neighborhood Greenways recently published a useful chart for our reference.
I am a working mother of two school-age kids. When I ride my bike, I do not become a subversive criminal looking for opportunities to flout the law (as I read your Sept. 5 article on green bike markings). I just want to enjoy the fresh air, get some exercise, wave to friends, keep my hard-earned money, and get where I’m going. I want my kids to ride their bikes to school and my mom to walk through town with minimal threat of injury. Well-designed streets make us safer. As our major newspaper, you can help us get there with this simple and totally free change.