Sunday, October 4, 2009

Hazards of the separated lane: bikes go in the street!

Today's ride left me feeling like I should from time to time carry a broom and a dustpan with me on my commute.

There was so much broken glass at so many points along the way.

On roads where there were bike lanes, it was in the bike lane. On roads where there was no bake lane, it was in the furthermost third of the road where bikes tend to ride.

It was like there was a bottle smashing party last night!

It made me think about the approaching winter, and how when after it snows around here, the plows shove all the ice and snow and slush directly into the bike lane, rendering it useless in its inaccessibility.

Which is I guess what must happen to some extent now, with broken glass being the snow and regular traffic being the plows.

The regular flow of traffic probably contributes to all that crap being deposited in the way of bike traffic.

Which leads me to the ultimate conclusion that bike lanes just aren't the best thing for cyclists or for motorists.

Cyclists get a false sense of security from a piece of infrastructure that tends to act as a gutter on the side of the road, and motorists get the false—and dangerous—assumption that cyclists go on a special little section of the road, not on the "real" road, and so they don't have to watch out for them as much. And that they're not any more a part of traffic than rollerbladers or joggers.

I don't agree with John Forester about everything, but I do agree that bikes belong on the road, proper. And not on special bike lanes.



Incidentally, one of the guys at Salvagetti said that when he realizes he just rolled over some glass, he swings his foot out and lets his shoe rub on the tire for a few revolutions because "it's not the initial contact with the glass, it's the grinding it in that happens next."

I'm dubious of the actual effectiveness of this, but I keep doing it. Mostly because it gives you something to do. Otherwise, if you don't immediately dismount and check your tires for punctures, you just groan and swear and keep riding.

I'll tell you what, it's a feat of contortion to do that with fenders!

3 comments:

303cycling said...

"assumption that cyclists go on a special little section of the road, not on the "real" road, and so they don't have to watch out for them as much. And that they're not any more a part of traffic than rollerbladers or joggers."

That says it all. I remembered when I moved here and I told them some of the routes I did, their response, "but there aren't any bike lanes there" Meaning you can't ride there because it doesn't support cyclist. Cyclist only belong on the lanes or paths, not the "real road" was what they were telling me

Kris
303cycling.com

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