bike lanes and good people

This is a good post from my friend Laurie about bike lanes. She rides in Toronto, but what she’s saying applies everywhere.

And what she’s saying is that drivers should be in favour of bike lanes. Especially the drivers that hate cyclists the most. Cyclists are not going to go away, but they will be less bothersome to drivers if there is a safe place for them to be on the road.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot (I drive in the city, as well as cycle), and the thing that slows cars down (which is what seems to make drivers the most angry) is unpredictability. It’s not cyclists specifically, it’s mostly double-parking! Double parked cars, delivery trucks, taxis…they force cars and cyclists to change lanes and zoom around them, which is what makes driving (and cycling) awful. And dangerous.

Every time I read blog comments on bike-related things I get all upset at the mean-spirited anti-cyclist sentiments. The anti-bikers actually need to support bicycle infrastructure to get what they want! And traffic needs to behave better so that things are safer, but also so driving is predictable and moves faster. Transportation Alternatives has been pushing the Biking Rules, shouldn’t AAA push good driving? It will make the streets better for everyone.

Only slightly related, here are some photos of the April 9th Critical Mass ride in Brooklyn. It was lovely: we went to eat ice cream and check out the new Brooklyn Bridge Park. About 20 cyclists at peak, about 20 cops (in a van, a few cars, and those half-car golf-cart things) following us for some unknown bureaucratic reason.

2 Responses to “bike lanes and good people”

  1. 1 David

    Hey Dory,

    I totally agree that bike lanes are good for cars.

    But, I was always under the impression that it’s unpredictability that can make streets safer, and that’s why naked streets and roundabouts work.

    But it’s unpredictability combined with an expectation of predictability that’s dangerous. “I’m going to turn right at this intersection because I don’t expect there to be a bicycle or pedestrian beside me,” or “I’m going to pass this car really quick on the right because I don’t expect there to be anything in the way,” etc.

    Please dispel me of my ignorance!

    Hi from TO.

    St Clair does suck to bike on. Props to Laurie for trying and surviving.

  2. 2 Dory

    Hey David!

    I think that you are right; I I hadn’t thought through the various types of predictability/unpredictability. The unpredictability of New York Streets is not the same as the naked streets, these are streets with lanes and traffic lights and speed limits and parking lanes and no-stopping rules, all of which are totally ignored.

    People stop in driving lanes, other cars drive on the wrong side of the yellow line to get past them, and then speed up to blow through red lights just as they’ve changed. It’s incredible to me how lawless this town is.

    It’s this sort of unpredictability that makes everything more dangerous.What makes me the most frustrated is that there are so many vocal anti-cyclists who think that bikes are the problem; sure bikes are in the way, but they would be less in the way if cars drove better.

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