Tuesday, June 25, 2013

What's the holdup? Amtrak Urged to Allow More Bikes on Trains

Amtrak's high speed train system provides a relatively quick and cost effective way to travel throughout the country without a car. However, for bicyclists hoping to bring their bikes along for the trip, Amtrak may be a less attractive travel option. Currently, only eight Amtrak routes, including Downstate Illinois Services, allow fully assembled bicycles on board. Of these eight routes, almost all require advanced bicycle reservations, some require additional fees, and they all limit the number of bicycles allowed on board to an average of 6 per train. On all other routes, bicyclists must have a folding bicycle or must partially dismantle their bicycles and fit them into boxes that can be stowed with the rest of the luggage for a $10 fee. Most discouraging, is the limited direct access of these routes to urban centers where the greatest number of bicyclists reside.
As detailed by Streetsblog Capitol Hill, these less than ideal accommodations have prompted bicyclists and lawmakers throughout the country to urge Amtrak to allow fully assembled bicycles on more train routes. New York lawmakers recently held a press conference urging Amtrak to allow fully assembled bicycles on two lines serving the upstate New York area, arguing that many New York City residents do not have cars and might not visit these parts of the state without convenient transportation. They further argued Amtrak will benefit from allowing bicycles on more routes because they will attract more customers, resulting in increased profits.
The Illinois Bicycle Attorneys at Keating Law Offices hope to see an increase in the number of Amtrak routes allowing fully assembled bicycles on board in the Chicago area. The same arguments advanced by New York lawmakers in favor of increasing Amtrak's bicycle accommodations are directly applicable in Chicago as well, given that many Chicago area residents do not have cars and rely on their bicycles as their primary mode of transportation. Chicago area bicyclists who do not have cars are arguably much less likely to travel to tourist attractions throughout Illinois if they are not able to bring their bicycles along to explore their end destinations. In addition, there are very few bicycle friendly modes of cross-country transportation, and we fully agree that Amtrak may be passing up an opportunity to attract more customers who hope to travel with their bicycles. We are anxious to see whether Amtrak responds to these recent demands and increases its bicycle accommodations.
If you have any questions regarding this post or an issue involving Illinois personal injury law, please contact Illinois Bicycle Attorney Mike Keating at 312-208-7702 or MKeating@KeatingLegal.com 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. All e-mails and phone calls are returned promptly. All initial consultations are confidential and free.