Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Non-Bikes in the Bike Lane

I ride bikes, and also like to run, and also I drive, and actually I walk places, too.  Because I experience the city in multiple ways, I am hyperaware of when people are in the wrong place, like pedestrians crossing the street out of turn.  I commonly see people inappropriately using the bike lane and it really pisses me off. The bike lanes in this city are crappy enough without cars, pedestrians and other obstructions in the lanes. Since apparently it is a complicated thing for people to determine whether they should be in the bike lane, I put together a simple test to guide your decision making:

Question #1: Are you using your body to propel you forward?
--If you answered no, you might be in a car or truck, or potentially on a motorcycle or vespa. You could be double parked while you run to grab a mocha latte from Starbucks. Or maybe you're a taxi driver and want to pull over to chat with your cabbie friends without getting out of your vehicle. Or perhaps you are on a moped and want to get around traffic. All of these would require you to be in the bike lane and thus should not be done. Motor vehicles do not belong in the bike lane, with the exception of when you are making turns.  You actually should enter the bike lane when turning right, especially when stopped at a red light.  This way any approaching cyclists can determine your intentions when approaching the intersection.
--If you answered yes, continue to Question #2.

Question #2: Are you on a bicycle?
--If you answered no, but yes to Question #1, you might be a pedestrian. You could be walking or running, but in either case, you're not on a bicycle.  This means you should not be in the bike lane, since it was designed for people on bicycles. For some reason, many runners like to be in the bike lane, despite the presence of a sidewalk. This should not be done because as I said earlier, it is a bike lane, not a running lane.  If you want to run on road surfaces, there are a lot of side streets that you can run on. Typically these side streets don't even have bike lanes so you won't be confused.
--If you answered yes, continue to Question #3.

Question #3: Are you obeying traffic laws?
--If you answered no, but yes to Questions #1 and #2, you are in fact on a bicycle, but you are riding illegally.  You should immediately dismount your bike, and walk beside it on the sidewalk. Cyclists are required to ride with the flow of traffic, stop at red lights, yield to pedestrians and follow other traffic laws. And take off your freakin headphones because that is dangerous and it pisses me off when you can't hear me say, "On your left" and you get all freaked out when I pass you.
--If you answered yes to all three questions then CONGRATULATIONS!!! You are appropriately using the bike lane!  Thank you!

1 comment:

  1. Just found out that Western Ave (the street I moved to this summer) will be under construction for two years to totally redo the road. New addition - raised bike lane. Which basically just means that it's in the side walk and pedestrians are just going to walk all over it....sigh!