It's a sad day when a 16 year old girl has to write an editorial to demand respect as a cyclist on the road. But unfortunately, many motorists have a negative attitude towards bicyclists (and come on, you know you've gotten frustrated at the biker who's sharing a lane with you in rush hour). It's time bicyclists stood up for their rights?they do deserve a share of the road too, after all.
One major thing you can do to call for cyclists' rights is to ask your city to install bike lanes on the major thoroughfares that lack them.
Contact your city's department of transportation directly if the city is small enough, or bring it up at a town hall meeting. Suggest installing new bike lanes and including room for them in plans for future road construction. If you live in a bigger city, you may have to enlist some aide?with a petition as your firepower.
Take this petition to get a bike lane installed on Queens Boulevard from Transalt (a New York alternative transit advocacy nonprofit) or this petition for bike lanes in Toronto for example--they're effective ways at ensuring your voice gets heard.
To organize a petition, you can contact a relevant nonprofit advocate in your area (like Transalt). If you can't find one, look into starting your own on the Petition Site, which can help you create and circulate a petition of your designing.
The call for bike lanes has been heard far and wide?this Chattanooga journalist just wrote an open letter to the mayor asking for more lanes. And with gas prices so high and a larger set of eco-educated folks active, more bikers than ever are taking to the streets. So much so that some savvy advertisers are taking advantage of bike lane space to place ads.