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Aaron L. Dylewski
by on April 28, 2019
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OPINION — Conservative think tank, The John Locke Foundation, recently published an analysis on bike lanes and it is presented with facts that discourage urban bicycling infrastructure developments.

The main complaint from the foundation is that the lanes aren't used enough to justify the cost. Let's examine some of the analysis. In the document, the Foundations states:

Cities across the state have allocated millions of taxpayer dollars for bike lanes and bike share programs. Despite all the money being spent, bicycling remains an infrequent form of commuting.

Infrastructure like bike lanes diverts money from road projects and reduces existing capacity for motorized transportation on roads by converting some portion of that paved space.

First of all, biking infrastructure should not be on the road. Only a small percentage of people that ride bikes will ride on the roads with the cars, particularly in the busy car-dominated urban areas. 

Some of the common complaints from people riding the lanes is that it is stressful, that it inflicts anxiety and aggression; despite having the "bike lane" and green paint installed.

The people I talk to on the street say they want to ride their bicycles in town but in general the on-road bike lane infrastructure is ridiculous and unsafe. And this ridiculousness and danger can be quantified as stress.

Urban planners are recognizing the amount of stress that the roads exhibit with new data and heat maps. And a term being used to describe transit hotspots is called, "Road Stress," due to the amount of stress the traffic and congestion causes. The stress index takes into account the amount of noise, pollution and danger that the road poses on the human being.

Human beings are typically repulsed from dangerous and obnoxious places, so as a result of the #RoadStress people are being repulsed from using on-road bike lanes and bicycling in general, and the numbers reflect that

But, despite these facts the whole truth isn't being presented by the John Locke Foundation as to WHY the #BicycleCummuter numbers are so low.

Questioning people on the street suggests that bicycling infrastructure done-wrong actually reduces the number of people riding their bikes.

And it's no surprise this is happening: automotive lobbies and politicians are vying for bike-lanes to meet urban planning quotas in an arena made to coddle the car, not the human being. So when when the majority of folks refuse to use the on-road bike lanes—presumably due to the road stress—the automotive lobby and it's constituencies are able to gloat to themselves by saying "See, nobody rides bikes!" ...The John Locke Foundation's recent analysis on this subject is an example of that.

In reality the majority of people see on-road bike lanes as a stressful and dangerous place to be, so as a result we see lack-luster bicycle commuting numbers. Just as the Foundation's analysis states.

But people are speaking up because people want to ride bicycles safely.

  • in 2018 Belgium's word of the year by consensus was "Murder-Strip," otherwise known as a "painted bicycle lane."
  • In Boston riders placed red cups, filled with water, on the painted bike lanes to demonstrate the fragility of the human being on the road.
  • In Washington DC there was a ghost bike demonstration where riders laid in the bike lane with a message that demands safer biking infrastructure. These are just a few examples of many.

These are just a few examples of many.

In short the majority of people do not want to ride the roads and when bike lanes are installed on the road, less people will bike. So when organization's like the John Locke Foundation use the on road bike-lane's lack-of-use as a indicator for not installing better, more proper infrastructure they are being misleading and disingenuous about the facts.

Sueggestions:

  1. Stop calling for on-road bike lanes particularly in car-dominated areas. The majority of people do not want to ride on the road, so there is no good reason to use the majority's tax-dollars on road biking "lanes."
  2. Redefine urban biking infrastructure as a #trailway, not a bike lane. By redefining urban biking infrastructure as a trailway you'll encourage proper biking infrastructure to take shape; preferably infrastructure that is seperated from the road entirely and it'll dissasociate biking with the road stress.
  3. Bicycling shouldn't be a death trap. Bike politicians may be nessisary. Vote often, defend the human right to bicycle safetly.
Posted in: Opinions