In this photo taken Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2013, in Chicago, a lone cyclist navigates Dearborn St. between street traffic and pedestrians is a special bike lane in Chicago’s famed Loop. An early bone-zapping blast of snow and ice hasn’t stopped a surprising number of cyclists from spinning through the slush in Chicago this winter, thanks in part to a city so serious about accommodating them that it deploys mini-snow plows to clear bike lanes. A city councilwoman’s recent proposal to institute a $25 annual cycling tax set off a lively debate. Mayor Rahm Emanuel has made bike lanes and bike programs a signature issue, believing it makes downtown an attractive place for bright young people and innovative companies. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
CHICAGO (AP) — Early blasts of snow, ice and below-zero temperatures haven’t stopped a surprising number of Chicago cyclists from spinning through the slush this winter, thanks in part to a city so serious about accommodating them that it deploys mini-snow plows to clear bike lanes.
The snow-clearing operation is just the latest attention city leaders have lavished on cycling, from a growing web of bike lanes to the nation’s second largest shared network of grab-and-go bicycles stationed all over town. But it also spotlights questions that have been raised here, a city wrestling with deep financial problems, and across the country.
Who is paying for all this bicycle upkeep? And shouldn’t bicyclists be kicking in themselves?