Useful Information

For dialogue about safe streets, letters to the editor, or transportation-themed trivia games

Commute Mode Share in US, 2015

(Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics)

Trip Length (miles) in Petaluma

(Source: Sonoma County Transportation Authority)

Fatality Rate by Speed (Source: National Traffic Safety Board)

Average Annual Cost of Car Ownership

According to the American Automobile Association (AAA), the average annual cost of owning and operating a new car in the U.S. is now $9,282.00 or $773.50 a month. This cost is for vehicles driven 15,000 miles a year in 2022 and includes depreciation, loan interest, fuel, insurance, maintenance, and miscellaneous fees.

CA Person-Miles of Private Vehicle Travel

(Source: U.S. Department of Transportation)

27,970 average annual miles are driven by a person in private vehicles, including cars, vans, sport utility vehicles, pickup tricks, taxicabs, other trucks, recreational vehicles, motorcycles, and light electric vehicles such as golf carts.

The Four Types of Cyclists

According to research into attitudes toward cycling conducted by Jennifer Dill, PhD (and colleagues) in 50 U.S. cities , there are Four Types of Cyclists:

  • 7% "Strong and Fearless"

  • 5% "Enthused and Confident"

  • 51% "Interested but Concerned" (These are the folks who say they would ride a bicycle, but they don't feel safe doing so. This 51% of our community needs Class 1 bike paths and Class 4 bike lanes in order to feel comfortable riding a bicycle)

  • 37% "No Way, No How"

Bike/Ped/Active Transportation Plans

The Goal of Petaluma's 2008 Bike and Pedestrian Master Plan: "Create and maintain a safe, comprehensive, and integrated bicycle and pedestrian system throughout Petaluma that encourages bicycling and walking and is accessible to all."

The Goal of Sonoma County Transportation Authority's Countywide Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan (2014 update): "To develop and maintain a comprehensive countywide bicycle and pedestrian transportation system, which includes projects, programs, and policies that work together to provide safe and efficient transportation opportunities for bicyclists and pedestrians."

The Goals of California's 2017 State Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan: "1) Reduce the number, rate, and severity of bicycle and pedestrian involved collisions, 2) Increase walking and bicycling in California, 3) Maintain a high quality active transportation system, and 4) Invest resources in communities that are most dependent on active transportation and transit."

Types of Bike Lanes

No two ways around it: bike lane terminology is confusing.

Class 1: Dedicated bike paths (or "multi-use" or "shared-use" paths) for exclusive by bicyclists and pedestrians. Class 1 bike paths come closest to making cycling safe for people of all ages and abilities.

Class 2: Bike lanes along streets and marked only by striping and often by signage; and -- very occasionally -- by green paint in the bike lane.

Class 3: So-called "bike boulevards," are ordinary streets in which bicycles share the roadway with vehicles. Bike boulevards are typically marked only by sharrows and signage, sometimes with the addition of speed bumps.

Class 4: Separated bike lanes, sometimes referred to as "cycle tracks," are for the exclusive use of bicycles (and similar wheeled devices). Separated bike lanes come in many varieties: protected bike lanes are separated from traffic by physical features that have a vertical dimension (such as bollards, planters, etc.); buffered bike lanes are separated from traffioc by a wider painted margin; parking-protected bike lanes are separated from traffic by parked cars.

Class 1 bike lane

Class 2 bike lane

Class 3 bike lane

("bike boulevard")

Class 4 bike lane