In conjunction with the productions of the Safe Routes to School videos that BFC created in June, in partnership with the Larimer County Department of Health and the Built Environment, we looked at the apparency that, while the City of Fort Collins enjoys a great low-stress network of bike lanes and bike paths, they don’t always allow for the most intuitive or optimal routes when it comes to users identifying those to take to their various destinations—particularly as it relates to directness.

One such example presented itself in creating the point-of-view (POV) shot safe route to school video from Poudre Valley Mobile Home Park to Lincoln Middle School featured below entitled “Safe Route.” As you watch the video, you’ll note that the route requires a student to travel east, away from the direction of school in order to get to a low-stress street (and off of College Avenue). Because of this lack of directness, area residents tell us that middle school students are more apt to take the more direct route and travel south on College Avenue, exposing themselves to a very high-stress traffic environment filled with the dangers of, and potential conflicts with fast moving vehicles, semi-trucks, buses and numerous driveways into businesses where they must negotiate entering and exiting cars. However, this higher stress route is over a ½-mile shorter and is nearly 10 minutes faster to travel by bike. Who wouldn’t want to take this shorter, faster route?

Watch each video below and note the “High Risk Route” version, where a similarly shot POV video to that of the safe route showcases and captures the very dangers we reference above in action. Again, despite the strength of the City’s bike network as it currently exists, we know there are other such instances of this and hope to create additional video(s) and plan to share accordingly and to appropriate authorities and individuals to bring awareness to this need to create, not only safe, but more direct routes to, not only schools, but other destinations as well. Doing so will help incent more bicycle trips by students, helping us reach our goal to have 50% of students walking or riding their bikes to school, as well as adults and other riders, helping us meet the City’s goal for people to “Shift” modes and reduce single occupant vehicule trips. Fort Collins is one of the most bike friendly cities in the country, but we want it to be the friendliest.