(Update: these opinions are not endorsed by the Cycle Chic brand.)

I’ve finally settled into the harsh reality that Dallas isn’t Copenhagen. And have therefore decided to wear a bike helmet more often.

The Bishop Arts District and N Oak Cliff are pretty dreamy.

You’d think it would be obvious, Dallas differs in many ways from Copenhagen – maybe I’ve just been in denial.

As I pedal my heart out to work and home, to pick up my Urban Acres share, meet friends at Eno’s, grab something at the grocery, visit my sister…. I live in this imaginary world where Dallas is bikeable.

The harsh reality began to creep in as I was explaining to a friend how my morning commute could be made simpler by adding a bike lane on the northernmost lane of the Zang bridge into downtown.

Biking the Zang Bridge into downtown

I proceeded to tell her why that route is so treacherous and why this epiphany of mine would be such a major improvement, when she added “And people thought I was nuts biking in London – you guys deserve purple hearts!  At least London has bike lanes!”  Yeah, I guess it is pretty dangerous…

Then the bike lane debacle began to unwind and it hit me that Dallas makes a lot of City plans that only sit on shelves, never read.

Dallas saw bike lanes for a day: Ross Better Block 2011

Thank goodness for those hardworking citizens of the Fort Worth Ave Development Group and businesses owners in the area who are fronting money and pushing the city for paint on pavement. We might get bike lanes afterall, but I realize that not everyone’s so aware of this need nor on-board to get it done. Not like bike lanes in Dallas get preferential treatment when fixing potholes or clearing snow (as in Copenhagen.)

And despite all the people I know who ride frequently, there are many in Dallas who have not touched their bike in decades and can’t remember that feeling of freedom with the wind in your hair and the birds chirping with the smell of fresh cut grass or woodburning fireplaces… Dallas drivers in their SUVs and F250s tend to get pushy, and dangerously aggressive toward cyclists. Or just plain don’t see us. (Check out the really great bike awareness campaign my friend saw in London.)

The cherry on top was another friend-of-a-friend who’s been seriously injured while biking.

It’s tragic. And it’s all convinced me that maybe wearing a helmet in Dallas is a good idea, as a realistic assessment of the biking atmosphere here.

I’m in the market for a stylish new helmet!

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