I was recently yelled at by a pedestrian, of all people, that I shouldn’t be riding in the middle of the road, and should be over in the bike lane. I’m not certain what prompted this man to share his advice, since I wasn’t anywhere near him. Perhaps I just looked arrogant slowly riding my cruiser in the center of the lane as if I had the right to be there.
While the bike lane going down 5th Street is quite nice, I was preparing to get into the turn lane to make a left and head north on Stewart Street. You can’t safely make a left hand turn across 2 lanes of traffic from the bike lane. The bike lane is for thru-traffic, and gives you a safe place to ride when this is where you are planning to go.
From a cyclist’s point of view, I think the resources to crackdown on people riding bikes could be better used elsewhere. This doesn’t seem to be a problem in Carson City, but I do hear of these stings in Reno. While I don’t condone breaking the rules, you do need to be flexible with the law when on a bicycle, since most of our roads were designed with driving a car in mind. Following the rules all the time could get you hurt or killed. Law enforcement crackdowns would have a better return on investment if they went after the people endangering the most vulnerable users. Make the streets safer for people to get out of their cars, fewer cars on the road, less traffic problems.
Here’s a video from New York City. This rider was actually ticketed for straying out of the bike lane! Well of course this made him mad, and he decided to make a short film about his experience.
From the RawStory website:
After receiving a $50 ticket for straying from the bike lane, a New York biker filmed a protest video montage of himself crashing into objects while remaining lawfully in the bike lane. Some of the crashes appear to be fairly painful.
The biker, Casey Neistat, who films documentaries for an HBO show, released the video on YouTube. It received about 150,000 hits in two days.
“Dear [N]ew [Y]ork [C]ity, ticket the people blocking the bike lanes, not bikers,” he concluded. “[A]nd give me my $50 back.”
I ride the bike lanes as much as possible, but I’m glad these rules aren’t enforced here. Often road signs can’t be placed in the road or on the sidewalk, and they end up in the bike lane. And sometimes people think the bike lanes are parking lots, as reported earlier here on Bike Carson, Highway 50 Bike Path Obstructions. Until the roads around the country are made safer for ALL users, law enforcement needs to back off a little. Especially in a country that REALLY needs to become energy independent to survive in the coming years. Bikes need to be a part of this future.