So, U. S. A. The land of opportunities. The land of dreams. And the land to cycle to your heart’s content, one would presume? Ah well, it depends.
First of all, the rules are extremely cyclist friendly. No doubts about that. And there is a strong push to get the folks to pay attention to the cyclist on the road; across all states.
But then, the streets have a long way to go. America thrives on its roads. The people literally live on the roads using their cars and trucks to do Every. Single. Job. And that, unfortunately is the only bane for a cyclist out here – the roads are designed for the vehicles, not the cyclist. One needs to really pay attention to the road; to speeding cars, the abundant potholes, the infinite number of traffic signals (lol), the lack of street lighting (ironically the well lit streets are the ones with the maximum speed limits, which incidentally are the most risky to cycle!) and so many other factors.
I have only ridden the bike across three states; rather three cities – Pittsburgh, Washington DC and Chicago (and the suburbs included). All three are considered cyclist-friendly. I’m yet to ride the cycle outside the US or India for that matter to come up on a proper data-backed conclusion; but between the two – I am a LOT less worried and better-off in India than in the US from what I have experienced so far. India has a thriving population since decades that still survives on a cycle for their daily affairs. And the roads are tuned for that mix of cars, bikes and cyclists. So are the people, even in cities that have horrible traffic situations like Mumbai or Bangalore.
On the other side, It’s been only six odd months and about 1000 odd kilometers (ya, I still prefer to go by the metric system) out here in the US. I would love to be proved wrong as I hope to ride a lot more across the countryside and other cities (SFO, here I come!)