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Sunday, April 8, 2012

Cyclists At Center Of Bitter Debate Over Bike Lanes [NPR]


A cyclist rides in heavy traffic in downtown Washington, D.C.
M.V. Jantzen/Flickr
A cyclist rides in heavy traffic in downtown Washington, D.C.
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April 5, 2012
Bike lanes accommodate cyclists and help with visibility, and some people view the lanes as a way to facilitate urban transportation. But sharing the road has its challenges. Drivers bristle at the thought of losing parking spaces, and drivers and pedestrians both worry about reckless riders.
Bill Strickland, editor-at-large for Bicycling worked on a piece for the magazine called "We Have Met the Enemy" with colleague Matt Seaton. In it, they examine what they call the "vicious" opposition to bike lanes in many cities and towns, and come to a startling conclusion: The toughest obstacle to bike lanes is the reputation of the cyclists themselves, who are often seen as rude and dismissive of the rules of the road.
Strickland admits he's guilty, at times. "I myself will roll through a ... stop sign," he tells NPR's Neal Conan. "I never run any stoplights. Every once in a while, I'll go the wrong way ... if it's just more convenient, if there's no one there, if it's an off-peak hour."
Bike riders, though, aren't necessarily the worst offenders. "Cyclists, I think, break the law with no more frequency than drivers," says Strickland. "But we're very much more visible when we do break the law."

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