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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Why Bike Lanes Are Bad For Drivers' Expectations [LGRAB]


Actually one of the widest bike lanes in Chicago
Actually one of the widest bike lanes in Chicago
Bike lanes are dumb in one major way: they outline the door zone and then tell cyclists to rideright there. But the door zone is not my beef at the moment. No, my beef is how bike lanes set bad expectations for drivers – that the cyclist must ride in the bike lane at all times.
  • Exhibit A: Like an icy slip ‘n slide. Chicago, December 2008.  I am riding outside of the bike lane because the snow plows and  salt trucks  ignored that precious slice of pavement.  A driver in a hooptie hooooooonks as he passes within a foot of me and yells, “Ride in the bike lane, you idiot!”  I throw my hands up in frustration.  Driver flips the middle finger.  I catch up at the red light.  Driver unrolls his window and yells again, “Stay in the bike lane, moron!”  I respond firmly, “I cannot ride in the bike lane because it is FULL OF ICE.  Please be aware of my safety.  Thank you.”  Driver drives off, as drivers do.
  • Exhibit B:  La la la I can’t hear you. Chicago, September 2009.  I am riding two inches outside the bike lane because the entire strip is the door zone.  A driver in a station wagon behind me honks…  Honks…  Hooonks…  Hoooooonks…  Hooooooooooonks.  I ignore him.  He passes me closely, even though he always had the entire opposite lane to pass.  I catch him at the stop sign.  He passes me closely.  I pass him as he’s stopped in traffic.  I feel happily smug.

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