An Oklahoma lawmaker ditched four wheels for two. And in doing so, he’s gained a new perspective about Oklahoma City’s infrastructure.
Rep. Forrest Bennett has been a member of the Oklahoma House of Representatives since 2016, representing midtown, downtown and southside OKC in the 92nd district.
Bennett said he’s been using an electric bike as his primary mode of transportation for more than a year. He decided to do that after giving his vehicle to his wife, whose own vehicle was sold because it was not operating properly.
“I have a lot of constituents that rely on the bus and rely on bikes to get around or their feet, and I kind of want to have a better idea of what life was like for them,” Bennett said.
Bennett said while biking to and from work at the Oklahoma Capitol has been rewarding, he’s noticed that parts of the city are not very bike friendly.
“There are places where the bike lanes just sort of inexplicably end and there’s no immediate obvious next step for the cyclist,” said Bennett. “There are areas where you’re supposed to share the road. But I had an experience where I was downtown and I was riding on one of those streets where it’s supposed to be shared, and I could feel a car behind me that wanted to get past me. So I started to go over to the side and he sped past me, clipping the side of my bike, causing me to flip off of my bike.”
Bennett said he also hopes to see more sidewalks and crosswalks.
“Oklahoma City is the fourth-largest city by land mass in the country, and famously, we’re kind of designed with cars in mind,” said Bennett.
Oklahoma City Councilwoman JoBeth Hamon told News 9 the city has several current bicycle infrastructure projects and more planned for the future. Among the projects are protected bike lanes being built on Classen Boulevard between Main and 10th streets, Hamon said.
That’s good news for cyclists like Bennett, who said riding his e-bike recharges his battery.
“The activity of being able to, you know, move around kind of makes me feel more awake and ready to go when I get here (to the Capitol),” said Bennett.
“I keep a little comb in my backpack now in case I got helmet hair,” he added.
Bennett said he wants to be a resource for anyone who is interested in electric bikes. He has been posting information about his bike on his Twitter page.
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