Sharing Bike Lanes : What A Difference An “Adult” Culture Makes?


By constant self-discipline and self-control you can develop greatness of character.

— Grenville Kleiser

ChainLinkers are nothing if not infantile. Take for instance this thread reply on Pedestrians in the Kinzie Bike Lane:

Reply by Jason on October 24, 2012 at 4:15pm

No way they are allowed in the bike lane. They think it’s the lake front path or something, which is multiuse. When I see peds in the bike lane, I like to buzz them close. And when I say close, I mean at full speed practically brushing them as I fly by.

Ok. So there is some confusion on this point. Are pedestrians and other non-motorist types allowed in the bike lanes? The owner of the ChainLink displays clear wisdom on the subject as well:

Reply by Julie Hochstadter on October 22, 2012 at 9:21am

good question. I’m baffled here too.

This sort of bewilderment is par for the course with this group. When in doubt they find “Ready, Shoot, Aim” the better choice set.

I suspect there is an ordinance of some sort that could be dredged up which might clear things up. But wait a minute. Let’s take a look at how the Dutch respond to this kind of question. In the articleWho Else Benefits from the Dutch Cycling Infrastructure?” we see a much different take on things.

Why Tolerate Interlopers?

The first and most difficult risk we can take is to be honest with ourselves.

— Walter Anderson

While the aggressive almost rabid style of the ChainLink impresses and plays well with the nose ring crowd hell bent on being hipsters, it does nothing to advance the cause of alternative transportation methods. If you have pedestrians in the bike lane and then joggers and perhaps skateboarders and even motorized wheel chair users is that a sign of chaos and scofflaw behavior on the part of people other than cyclists? Perhaps.

But let’s take a look at this from another angle. Suppose I want to get the city council to agree to more bicycle infrastructure. They are balking because the costs are high and frankly they see this as an “only about bicycling issue“. But when I have seniors and disabled folks using that lane are they not my allies in the struggle to improve transportation in the city?

It might be better to think of bike lanes as places where slower, more vulnerable transportation becomes viable. When that happens you suddenly have Open Streets 360 going on. After all what we are truly trying to achieve here is something akin to the Open Streets model.

We want streets to be safe for kids, pets and grandparents alike. And when they are it makes it possible for the images in this article on “British Bike Lane usage” to become a reality here in the United States. Being greedy and arrogant is sometimes perceived as being a True Believer on the ChainLink Forum. The more insular the movement I guess the better, is the thinking.

But frankly when you have people who regularly use these currently under-utilized lanes the worst that happens is that cyclists have to wake from their dozing and stay alert so as not to do to pedestrians and wheel chair riders what motorists do to them. In the words of Rodney King, “Can’t we all just get along?

That my friend will depend on people who are in positions of authority on the ChainLink and at Active Transportation Alliance stepping up and supporting more inclusiveness. At present the urban cycling scene seems more like those pictured below:

Is This The State of the Urban Cycling Scene?