Southwest Ada County Alliance spreads awareness about bicycle-safe roads

Southwest Ada County Bike Ride
Posted at 5:15 PM, Jun 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-22 19:53:13-04

BOISE, Idaho — The Southwest Ada County Alliance held a bicycle ride Monday morning to spread awareness about safe roads for bicycles and pedestrians.

Southwest Boise residents were joined by activists and elected officials to experience what local bicyclists experience every day. What people found was that some roads were safer than others.

“I don’t think that there’s anybody today who would’ve ridden the route that we did and said, 'Oh, this is a street I would feel comfortable letting my kids walk to the library on or that I would feel comfortable riding my bicycle myself,'" Boise City Councilman, Jimmy Hallyburton said.

Other local officials who attended the bike ride included Boise Mayor Lauren McLean, Ada County Highway District Commissioner Jim Hansen, and a candidate for Idaho House of Representatives District 21, Natalie MacLachlan.

Stops on the route included crossings by Lake Hazel Middle School, the Ada County Library at Victory Road, Five Mile Road and areas of Amity Road.

“It’s easier for people to understand the challenges out here when they experience it first hand. It’s much different to ride…ride a bike or walk in southwest Boise than it is in areas where they have more infrastructure, or the greenbelt or something," organizer, Marisa Keith said.

She also said that kids are often bicyclists and pedestrians.

"As we all know, unless they’re parents are driving them, they are the walkers and the bikers so we want to make sure that we capture their experience with the streets too," She said.

For Deanna Smith, education is a big takeaway. She said bicycles are treated as cars in Idaho, so it's safer for bicyclists to ride in the middle of a lane rather than hugging the shoulder or right side of the lane.

“The reason it’s safer for you to be there than hugging the right side of the road is when you force a driver to pass you, they pass you more safely. If you’re hugging the right side of the road, what a lot of drivers tend to do--and it’s very unsafe for the cyclist—is squeeze past you and only give you a foot or two.”