Detroit is a great city for bicycling. The neighborhood streets and major roads carrying car traffic in and out of the city are super wide. Quite a few of them are one way, making for ideal cycling. Throughout busy Southwest Detroit and sections of midtown, many miles of bike lanes have been installed, and from what I understand, more are coming. Over on the city’s eastside, there’s been progress on the Conner Park Greenway that will eventually extend from the Detroit River out to Eight Mile Road, a distance of about nine miles.
In addition to the wide streets and bike lanes that make for easy city riding, one of the best things I like about riding the streets of Detroit is the lack of traffic. It’s not uncommon for me to ride two to three miles on major three-lane, one-way roads or on two-way streets without a single car passing me in either direction. Although Detroit lost over half its population in the last 40-years, (thus fewer cars on the streets) it’s still a major American urban center. Considering its size, the lack of traffic on the city’s streets is incredible to me.
Obviously not all the streets and roads are void of cars. Woodward, Michigan, Gratiot Avenue, and others always have plenty of traffic. One of the things that I don’t understand about riding on the wide, less traveled one-way streets is that most cars don’t generally move out of the right hand lane. I’ll be pedaling close to the right curb, and they still whiz closely by, even though the left lane(s) are completely open with lots of space for them to move over. Drivers must be programmed to stay in the right hand lane, no matter what.
Bicyclists in Detroit are fortunate to have access to lightly traveled streets and roads. Their openness makes for enjoyable, stress free rides. Of course, there’s the exception of stray dogs, but that’s another story.