How the ‘City of Hate’ is becoming bike-friendly

Posted on 26 Sep 2014 at 7:35am

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Thomas Cantu
Contributing Columnist

Last year, 2013, marked the 50th anniversary of the Kennedy assassination, and the commemoration uncovered hurt feelings and brought to the forefront conversations we usually held in hushed tones. Dallas’  old “City of Hate” label was revived for the first time in decades.

But at the same time, the “Bike Friendly” movement has begun to emerge from the very neighborhood that earned Dallas that moniker, recasting the city into one known for being nice … at least to cyclists.

A nonprofit organization from Oak Cliff leads the Bike Friendly movement here. It started six years ago with a small group of friends looking to improve their neighborhood.

Bike Friendly Oak Cliff was their answer, a nonprofit aiming to promote bicycle advocacy and awareness in Oak Cliff.

BFOC’s influence now spans citywide and they have taken great strides toward the humble goal of improving Oak Cliff.

For a fledgling organization, Bike Friendly Oak Cliff has made remarkable headway. BFOC’s influence is evident by the bike lanes that extend, spider-web-like, throughout the city. Now, when it comes to city planning, City Hall not only considers motorists and pedestrians, but cyclists as well.

In light of citywide success, BFOC remains true to its original cause, a better Oak Cliff. This year’s Bike Rosemont event provided more than 800 sets of bicycle safety lights for the local elementary school’s students, a great contribution to the neighborhood. The program also taught bicycle safety and the rules of the road to participants.

BFOC’s annual Bike Commuter Energizer Station on National Bike to Work Day is the most popular and active station in the city, complete with mariachis to serenade riders as they cross the Jefferson Viaduct.

BFOC’s most anticipated yearly event is held in October. Cyclesomatic is a fun-filled, monthlong series of bike-friendly events organized by BFOC. A few of the events include a photo scavenger hunt, brewery tour, bike-in movie, cycle-cross race and a bicycle rally to Dallas City Hall. All events are family friendly and BFOC encourages everyone to find a reason during Cyclesomatic to get back on a bike and enjoy the innocent pleasures of childhood once again.

Fifty years ago Dallas became the City of Hate. Riding a bicycle cannot fix that, but a Bike Friendly Dallas is a step in the right direction and it all starts in your neighborhood.

For more information on Bike Friendly Oak Cliff, visit BikeFriendlyOC.org.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 26, 2014.

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