Bike Lanes

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This vid is getting knocked around the interwebs. Not sure what I think of all of the issue presented yet. Well, not in the sense that I can artfully articulate them aside from simple stating: bikes belong. But, we all knew that much already. Two simple words with a whole lot of gloss. Anyway, get out yer tubs o’ popcorn and push play.

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I found vid over on Andew Sullivan’s site: Two Breeds Of Biker. (follow up post here: Two Breeds Of Biker, Ctd.) Which led, in turn, to this site where the whole piss-all-over-ourselves pill-party began: More bikes means slower bikes.

I will say this much, complaining about having to pedal slowly because you have sharing a bike lane with other bicyclists borderlines on the ridiculous. You went from being as exposed piece of flesh, dancing precariously between flesh-eating monster automobiles in the grim ballet I like to refer to as Please Don’t Fucking Kill Me I Have Kids, to having to slow your roll when overtaking those trying to keep from sweating through their dress shirts on their way to work.

I find it hard to empathize with such a crisis. You have done little more with your life than replace the asshole in the Dodge pickup who leans on the horn and screams “get the fuck off the road” at me while attempting to balance a half gallon of moo juice on his fleshy thighs and polish the one eyed gopher when he’s doin’ seventy-five in a thirty-five. (see The bloodhound gang – A lap dance is so much better when the stripper is crying.) Meet the news boss. He’s the same as the old boss.

Does it feel good to be on top of the food chain? Or, is it lonely up there by yourself?

Mr. Salmon posits, “if you’re biking around Copenhagen, you’re going to go a lot more slowly than if you’re biking the same distance in NYC.” (More bikes, supra.)

I have not been to Copenhagen. But, I have been to Amsterdam. And, I have cycled around that fair city. I can tell you this much, my friends, the bike lanes are quick, they are well thought out, and they are civil.

You will not average 27.8 miles per hour (or 30 mph, or however fast you think your weekend-warrior ass should be going). But you will get from Point A to Point B in a timely and orderly fashion, with minimal interference from both pedestrian and automobile. It is a net positive experience for all road users. And one that should be widely replicated in this country, post haste.

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About big jonny

The man, the legend. The guy who started it all back in the Year of Our Lord Beer, 2000, with a couple of pages worth of idiotic ranting hardcoded on some random porn site that would host anything you uploaded, a book called HTML for Dummies (which was completely appropriate), a bad attitude (which hasn’t much changed), and a Dell desktop running Win95 with 64 mgs of ram and a six gig hard drive. Those were the days. Then he went to law school. Go figure. Flagstaff, Arizona, USA

25 Replies to “Bike Lanes”

  1. …the mindset & the lifestyle choice were established long ago in places like copenhagen & amsterdamn & it simply makes sense to the locals so that it’s just a part of “how it’s done”

    …here, despite a lot of awareness, action & even legislature by specific groups, it’s just not a part of the mindset or lifestyle choice of the vast majority…

    …even when inroads are made, it’s only a small part of the population that are involved or care…

  2. 1-Yes, there are two types of cyuclist. But the trustafarian hipster wanker got it wrong. They are:
    A-People who go somewhere to ride their bikes and
    B-People who ride their bikes to go somewhere.

    Which brings us to-

    2-Bike lanes abound. They are everywhere. In most jurisdictions they are referred to as “streets”.

    3-Is it just me, or is the chick in the blue jersey insanely cute? The one with the accent, I mean.

  3. This is becoming a discussion point in San Francisco too. I also have mixed feelings on it, it’s sort of a “be careful what you wish for” thing. We’ve got more bike lanes and more cyclists out there all the time. There is a whole new kind of gridlock out there and lately I’ve been catching myself getting annoyed at bike “traffic”. For as long as I can remember, riding a bike was a way to be unaffected by traffic, so my knee-jerk reaction is to get annoyed when other riders block my passage. But then I realize that in the big picture, it’s a pretty good problem to have.

    Bottom line: When more people ride, bike riders more accurately reflect society as a whole, as opposed to a narrow niche of enthusiasts. And society as a whole is full of all types, including self-centered douchebags and well-meaning-but-clueless newbies, so there are more of them on bikes out there. Deal with it.

  4. I’d still rather ride my bike and just be treated as another vehicle. Sure it takes a certain level of skill, but so should driving a car.

  5. I live in jersey which sucks for biking, but i just bought a home in st.augustine Fla. They got bike lanes down there. I’ve had my share of confrontations with everything across the board. “Stay the fuck out of my lane!! will be my reply from now on.

  6. I’ve only ridden around Northern NJ and Southern NY and I’ve yet to even see a bike lane.

    They really necessary ?

    I’m with joe. Bikes lanes are all over. They be called streets. I’m tired of the gubment pissing away money on stupid shit.

  7. Bike lanes on the LEFT side? What the fuck? This is New York, right? That’s where if you confront anyone who is violating your space you may get an immediate flurry of fists and thrown against a truck.
    My mantra: Choose the safest line. Bike lanes are sometimes the safest line. Usually, for me, it is right in there with the cars.

  8. Amen brother. I too have lived in civilized places, though not now. Yes, when I lived in Leiden and biked to Delft or Amsterdam for work every once in a great while I had to be a decent human being and share the bike roads with people less fit, less motivated, or maybe just way less uptight than myself and slow down just a tiny bit. I would trade my current daily dice with death and dance with car-bound a**holes for those few minutes of coasting amongst the fellow fietsers on my way to the office.

  9. Well thought out bike lanes are cool, ones that go on the wrong side of the road between parked cars and swerving in and out of traffic are retarded death traps, there’s one in my town. Slow people, well, rather slow inattentive bikers than inattentive dangerous drivers getting fat and able to kill someone with their neglignece. People walking in the lanes? Gotta get let them know it’s not OK. Doesn’t happen here in NZ, but when I stupidly wandered into one in Gemrany I soon knew about it and didn’t do it again.

  10. Bikelanes? Sometimes they just create risk homeostasis. The feeling that everything is ok so everyone gets too comfy and are not careful. Sweden, when they switched from driving on the right to the left was prepared for many highway deaths. What really happened was that accidents went to almost zero because everyone was more cautious. Kinda like bikelanes. Nice idea, but in the US they are not really separated from the 1 ton, toxic gas spewing, death machines. I still like the ideas of taking the whole lane and being visible, chilling out and realizing we all have moments of inattention, sabotaging the rail lines into those places where they put autos on the trains, and sometimes braking!

  11. I’ve actually had the pleasure, well torture, of riding for the last wk in NYC. It sucks. Staying with a tough old uncle (late 50s and shitty rider, pedal axle under foot arch, 4 yr old style pedaler) and have commuted with him into Manhattan from a shit area of Brooklyn a few times. He rides mostly on street and I’ve seen unc have many close calls, we’re talking some 1 ft or less hard and fast vehicle passes. He also has the hipster whine going of too many bike lanes. The whiners in the video are actually expecting to not have to deal with pedestrians and delivery folks in Manhattan? Get a clue fools, you are in one of the busiest urban pockets in the world. I did an organized century that went NW of NYC (no paths, on tar rds) and that was good fun other than a bobby sox wearing NYvelocity dude giving me shit for not rolling through at the front long enough. I think he was embarrassed after bobbling with a team mate at the front and breaking the rhythm. It’s your typical class structure in NYC; get to hip (more wealthy) areas and you see plenty of attractive stylish folks on bikes, in the poor areas there are way less bikes and it’s bare bones transportation needs riders. The bike world must be bored if this video is seen as something other than hipsters whining.

  12. I’ve been in Europe for 10 years now, the last 4 in Amsterdam, and I’m so thankful not to be confronted the Hobson’s choice a lot of folks in American cities have to make when it comes to cycling. It almost makes me tempted to not ever return!

    The biggest safety factor here in NL imo is that drivers are aware of cyclists (as they are likely to be cyclists themselves). I often see or have drivers stop for cyclists even when a car has the right of way; you definitely have to beware of tourists driving in the city though! Cycling infrastructure is designed with aim of separating fast-moving vehicles from slow-moving vehicles in space and time: separate lanes, traffic lights, signposted routes for direct and scenic routes.

    I was just an around-town cyclist like everyone else, until this summer when I took the plunge a bought a racing bike a couple of weeks after the Giro d’Italia was in town. 4200km later, including 3 solo centuries around this bad-boy, and I’ve become an avid DC reader:

  13. Whining yes.

    The big picture is that bike lanes and signage also serve to show the clueless driver that bikes do not belong on the sidewalk and that they should be looking out for you on the street.

    Take whatever route feels best. The newbies will always gravitate to the lane. Youi might not.

  14. …blackjack is absolutely right…

    …it’s your own sense of self preservation that’s gonna save your ass out there, not bike lanes & signs although they do serve a purpose…

  15. This is a perfect example of why bicycle advocacy – while the most politically correct of all causes that i can think of – has a hard time getting traction. We squabble over the most petty details of our shared cause. Bike Lanes are good…no, bike lanes are bad, etc. While I can understand the different types of platforms and agendas – just shut up already.

    We should take a page out of the Republican/Teabag Party/Hell’s Angel’s/Three Musketeers playbook: all for one and one for all.

  16. John Forester addresses these issues at his website John Forester and in his book on effective cycling.

    It is sensible to behave as vehicular traffic if the law treats cyclist as such. Operating otherwise works against the established flow of traffic. Of course, this is only possible if all vehicle users are educated in the laws that govern the road. Such as, stopping at red lights and stop signs (except in Idaho, with it’s “stop-as-yield” law), signaling turns, etc. Also, that users obey the rules, are not selfish in their use of the road, and are courteous to all other users and modes. If only integrity and courtesy held a higher place in the list of desirable characteristics maybe it would work.

    @ 19. Does, “all for one and one for all” refer to everyone? Cyclist, motorist, pedestrians, equestrian riders, etc? Creating a dichotomy of one group against another just perpetuates the same problem. The issue is not an us-vs.-them. Ultimately, the issue is Road user-vs.-Road user. Which in mathematical terms cancels to Road user.

    Back to homework. Thanks for helping me relate.

  17. @ rogbie : “The issue is not an us-vs.-them. Ultimately, the issue is Road user-vs.-Road user. Which in mathematical terms cancels to Road user.”


  18. “The issue is not an us-vs.-them.”…absolutely, rogbie…& not that it’s followed by a majority of any of us ‘road user’s’, the term “share the road” was defined as such as a message to all involved…

    …from my pov, the issue is the lack of awareness of a particular thought, …“the vulnerability issue”

    …certain vehicle drivers don’t “get” how vulnerable cyclist’s are because they don’t think in those terms & they never will because they’re not subjectively exposed to the activity nor would they care to be…

    …we’re often seen as nothing more than a slow moving impediment…“get off the road”, “get a car, loser”, “you’re crazy to ride on the street”…that is a serious fucking mindset & a hard one to change…

    …it doesn’t matter if cyclist’s have rights, in the minds of plenty of folks, we’re just “in their way” & that’s all we’ll ever be, no matter what is legislated…

    …by the same token, as cyclist’s, every blown stop sign, every infraction or foolish move on our part is added up & directed back at us as being stereotypical: the scofflaw cyclist…

    …a lot of us have used that vulnerability issue contentiously at times to make a point (ie: critical mass or the clowns i see “taking a lane” when there actually is a safe bicycle lane right beside them…wtf ???) but it doesn’t seem to serve a purpose other than to foment more negativity & unrest…

    …anyway, i’ve got no answers but i watch my ass out there, bike lanes, legislature &/or despite whatever else might go in our favor…too many folks don’t play by the rules & so considering the vulnerability of our favored activity, it’s nothing but common sense & survival…

  19. I’m not so sure that bike lanes are safer than taking the road. In fact, from personal experience, I know they are more dangerous. Bike lanes, and multi-use paths, only serve to marginalize (literally, too) the cyclist’s right to a lane of traffic. Mr. Forester does a good job with numbers on this issue, as well. I agree with the lady in the video when she states that most bike lanes don’t go anywhere, or anywhere useful. Many on-street bike lanes do not link with other bike routes. Often the signage of bike routes is inadequate or nonexistent. That “vulnerability issue” is directed linked to education. Education to motorist as to how vulnerable a cyclist (or pedestrian) is and education of cyclist as to how vulnerable they are. i would add luck to “common sense and survival.”

  20. I think it’s important to note that NYC Consolidated Traffic Code clearly states that while cyclists are encouraged to use bike lanes, they are certainly not REQUIRED to. It is solely up to the discretion of the cyclist, not a cop, a motorist, or other cyclists.
    That’s literally written into the law. If you deem slower cyclists, pedestrians, turning cars, or kiwi-green paint a threat to your safety (or aesthetic principles), just ride with traffic like I do… everyone’s happy, right? littlejar hit it on the head.