The Case for Protected Bike Lanes
Evolution calls for better bike lanes
Call them what you want: Cycle Tracks, Protected Bike Lanes, Bike Paths. Bottom line is, most people won’t start riding until you take cars out of the equation. Why? Because even well-intentioned people do stupid or careless sh**, and when people do stupid or careless sh** while in a car, they could hurt or kill others. Even a cyclist’s own mistake can put them at much greater risk when riding alongside traffic.
So we have a chicken and the egg problem – you have to build great facilities first, then the people will ride. Current bike lane designs are ripe for abuse. There’s no way in hell police departments anywhere in the city will ever be able to effectively police bike lane misuse. In some cases, police themselves use them as parking lanes. Needless to mention, bike lanes also fail at protecting the cyclist. Visual proof follows.
Standard Bike Lanes Are Failing
Simple solution to avoiding all of the above:
Completely take cyclists out of harm’s way.
Dennis Hindman hits it right on the head with his comments on the “BPIT Top 10” LADOT Bike Blog article. We need a “perceived barrier” that physically separates and protects cyclists from car traffic. As a buffer, use planters, landscaping, bollards, or a row of parked cars. You know, “experimental” stuff that most people here would consider futuristic or unattainable. Vancouver gets it, Montreal gets it. Expect, and ask for more. Remind your local government that cyclists pay the same taxes that motorists pay*. We have the right to ride safely and free of fear.
More proper propaganda follows – both excellent Streetsfilms shorts.
Physically Separated Bike Lanes
* preemptive warning to ignant fools that dare bring up the cost of Gas in the comments: gas is not a tax, it’s an energy commodity. Kind of like food for cyclists.
The Grand Opening of Long Beach’s protected bike lanes on Broadway and 3rd streets is this Saturday at Noon.