Check out this video about bicycle lanes in New York City:
Streets Blog takes an interesting position:
This video critique of the new bike lane on First Avenue has been making the rounds, and it must give some comfort to John Forester and the vehicular cycling school. Vehicular cyclists reject all forms of bicycle-specific infrastructure and believe all cycling should be done in traffic. In this vid they can see a young cyclist claim that a bike lane protected from traffic has made the street “slower and more dangerous” than it was before.
I reject the false dichotomy. There are positions on the issue of bicycle infrastructure that cannot be forced into one of two camps. Take me for example. I have no problem whatsoever with appropriate bicycle infrastructure. By appropriate I mean either bicycle superior or completely separate (e.g. our greenways) with proper traffic control at intersections.
Taking that position means I am not in the John Forrester camp.
And articles such as this one demonstrate I’m not in the build-anything-to-encourage-more-people camp either.
There is (are) a middle way(s). And its primary characteristic is applying reason to transportation planning. Not all bicycling infrastructure is good. Not all bicycling infrastructure is bad. The goodness or badness depends entirely upon the traffic situation. Two key questions for me:
1) Does the proposed infrastructure help bicyclists of all skill levels travel safely from point to point?
2) Does the proposed infrastructure create safe accommodations with traffic at intersections?
A ‘no’ answer to either one of these must scuttle the proposal.
What we see in the video is that this particular lane fails both points. And it didn’t take spending a lot of money to paint the lane to see it. One could have seen, if approaching this proposal rationally, the conflicts in the initial plan.
Again, I have no doubt that building something attracts would-be bicyclists. Are we really willing to attract them to infrastructure that is less than safe? Do numbers mean so much to us that we are willing to put people in danger?
I have a big moral problem with people who, by their actions, answer yes to those questions.