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What Makes Jacksonville Such an Unfriendly City for Bicycle Riders?

Bicycles are an excellent form of personal transportation. They are environmentally-friendly, they give you a good workout, and they’re inexpensive to own. While it would be nice if we all rode bikes more, there are some challenges for people who live in Duval County. A recent report from PlacesForBikes.com gave Jacksonville and 1.2 out 5 using its ranking system. Let’s look at some of the things that make Jacksonville such an unfriendly city for bicycle riders.

In the 2019 report from PlacesForBikes.com, Jacksonville got its highest marks in ridership, where the city scored 1.6 out of 5. The city has a relatively average scene for recreational bike riders (2.6) as well as an average opinion of bike riding among the population (2.3). However, very few people in the city use their bike for commuting (0.4), which brought down the overall score for ridership. Jacksonville is a very sprawling city, which makes commuting by bicycle less feasible for many people.

Jacksonville received a low score of 1.1 out of 5 for bicycle safety in the city. This score is the result of poor showings in the number of bicycle-related traffic incidents and the amount of traffic-related deaths and injuries overall. In both of these subcategories of the report, Jacksonville got a 1.0 out of 5. Ironically, people’s perception of bike safety in the city (1.7) is higher than what the actual data suggests. The discrepancy should serve as a reminder to all bike riders and car drivers to be mindful when navigating Jacksonville streets.

The reach of bicycle riders and the lack of infrastructure to support them is another reason was considered an unfriendly place for bikes. When you ask residents about how easy it is to get somewhere by bicycle, most would rate the city as slightly below average (2.1). However, based on the Bicycle Network Analysis used to assess cities, Jacksonville score 1.0. The report recommends adding more bike lanes and other public works projects to make roadways more bike accessible.

It’s the lack of direction toward addressing these issues that drags down Jacksonville’s overall score. In the Acceleration category, which measured the city’s commitment to quickly growing bicycle use, Jacksonville scored an abysmal 0.4. While the perception of growth was at 1.9 out of five (which isn’t good), the progress in terms of increase in bike facilities and events was so low that it didn’t register.

Many of the issues Jacksonville faces with bicycle use adoption are related to the size of the city. When the average morning commute to work is over 20 minutes, bicycling won’t be an option for workers. However, it’s possible to make cycling easier within neighborhoods and districts areas of the town. These smaller efforts can be more manageable for a city like ours. Creating programs that would benefit all of the bike riders in the city at once would be an expensive endeavor.

If you were involved in a bicycle accident and need a personal injury attorney, the Law Firm of Steve Watrel, P.A. can help. We have been assisting North Florida with legal issues, such as claims related to traffic accidents, for decades. Send us a message online to schedule a consultation to discuss your case.