The unintended consequences of bike lanes

The Boston area is working hard to add bike lanes wherever they can. As a biker, in principle, I like the idea.

But as I’ve watched a busy stretch of road convert from no bike lanes to bike lanes, here’s what I’ve noticed most: more people park illegally. Somehow the bike lane operates as a permission to “temporarily” park at the side of the road. This morning, for example, I had to weave around 5 different illegally (but “temporarily”) parked cars; before the bike lanes were added, I literally never encountered a similarly parked car.

Weaving doesn’t sound terrible, except I worry that drivers are less attentive when there’s a bike lane than when there isn’t one. There’s a subconscious sense of “that’s your space, and here is mine” that I fear makes them less attentive. 

Of course, this doesn’t mean cities shouldn’t install bike lanes. But they also need to adjust the rules about temporary parking. And schmucks need to learn that walking an extra half block to get your double tall carmel latte won’t kill you. Indeed, and as an extra bonus, it would make it even less likely to kill me (or a bigger concern, my kids).

(Original post on Tumblr)

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5 Responses to The unintended consequences of bike lanes

  1. Tate Rehmet says:

    We have this problem in Austin as well. Some cars simply ignore the bike lanes and drive in them and sometimes bikers have to weave out of the bike lane and into traffic. If everyone follows the rules and stays aware of whats going on around them they work fine, but often times people are distracted, and sadly that’s when accidents happen.

  2. bicycle says:

    Great Post …. .. I like it very good blog and post ….

  3. Schizo says:

    I had a new experience this weekend. Not overly enjoyable I might add.
    We, here in NYC have some bike lanes where the parked cars are between the bike lane and the curb, thus the bike lane is sandwiched between the traffic and parked cars. In theory, this sounds good.
    Now I am a fairly comfortable cyclist on country roads, town roads, etc. Cars passing usually don’t get me riled up. However, the claustrophobic feeling I had riding along a patch of road in this type of bike lane is unexplainable! I could not foresee how I would be able to avoid any car who happened to be too close in the road, or a door opening from a parked car, or even a parked car that pulls out to the traffic lane. I simply would have no where to go! On the town roads there are curbs and sidewalks, or lawns, or ditches, or even woods. All more desirable than hitting a car.
    My anxiety became so great that I had to stop my bike, and go to the sidewalk and walk to my destination. I took the subway back to a point where the roads were more pleasurable to ride.
    Not likely to ride in NYC again.

  4. Merve Aslı says:

    There are no bike lanes in istanbul

  5. In our city we have got the same problem . Nobody take care bikes

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