Modesto: One of California’s Unlikely Bike-Friendly Cities

bike-lane-santiago-gift-ideas-cyclists-urban2When people imagine bicycle-friendly cities and towns, Modesto, California, rarely comes to mind. But Modesto, located in the Central Valley approximately 75 miles south of Sacramento, has made major strides to accommodate bikes in the past few years. One of the state’s oldest cities, Modesto was once known for wide streets built exclusively for cars. But with Modesto city planners thinking about the future – which includes more bicycles – the city began undergoing some positive changes in 2012, and the city’s not done yet.

Modesto has been turning many of its roadways into Complete Streets, which are streets designed for everyone who uses them – not just cars. People of all ages – children and adults alike – should be able to cross these streets and ride on them with ease. This means that motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists should all be able to coexist on these roads. There is no “one-size-fits-all” approach for a Complete Street, but many of them include crosswalks, sidewalks, bike lanes, roundabouts, narrower lanes and special lanes for buses and other forms of public transportation.

Along 9th Street and College Avenue, a “road diet” is in the works. A “road diet” repurposes the lanes and makes them narrower, in order to add lanes for bicycles. This project should be completed by summer’s end.

None of this infrastructure existed five years ago, but city planners have become more forward-thinking and eager to accommodate bicyclists, pedestrians and other users of the roadways. Best of all, most of the improvements have been relatively inexpensive to implement, considering that many cities are spending tens of millions of dollars on their efforts to make their roadways “greener.” Modesto is using cheaper forms of paving, to save money on labor. The city is also using surplus green paint, as well as bike racks that were purchased years ago, instead of purchasing only new materials.

We are Modesto Bicycle Accident Lawyers. We are happy to see the new cycling-friendly measures that Modesto has chosen to implement. Over the years, we have handled hundreds of accidents. Many of those accidents could have been prevented if the roadways had been designed to be more hospitable to cyclists. We applaud Modesto for working to make the streets safer for all of us.

Modesto is a perfect location to make these changes because the area is flat and the weather is mild. Other cities in Stanislaus County are starting to take note as well, with nearby Turlock looking to upgrade its roadways. By doing so, these cities are taking a major step toward bicycle accessibility and overall safety.

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