I recently decided that bike lanes aren’t the problem, and cyclists aren’t either. Cars on the road in urban areas are the problem. Sound too radical? I don’t think. It’s basically what drivers seem to think about cyclists. They talk and talk about how we (because we’re monolithic and share a collective conscience) don’t obey laws, scare them, make them feel concerned for our safety.
“I know a cyclist wouldn’t hurt me or seriously hurt my car if I hit them when they disobeyed traffic laws, but I’d just feel really bad about it personally. It might ruin my life,” is something I’ve heard from ‘cycling-friendly drivers.’ If that’s really how they feel, then they should probably stop driving because accidents do happen. Otherwise, an acceptance that cyclists break laws constantly is fine, as long as it’s accompanied by the acknowledgment that cars do constantly also (probably more frequently than the worst cyclist). Couple that with a 15 mph speed limit in all urban areas and we should be able to do away with deadly bike lanes.
Individual ownership of automobiles probably deserves to go into the bad-idea trash heap along with our tractor-trailer transport (over locomotive) experiment and E-85 ethanol.
Cyclists don’t ask for enough and certainly get less which is evident when we are thrilled about the after-thought addition of separate inferior infrastructure to accommodate a form of transportation that is legally equivalent and more responsible than driving a car.
I basically agree with apaul’s west coast assesment — bike lanes all over the place seem to make some drivers play games with the cyclists, some will sit there dumbfounded as they squander their right of way to make sure they defer to the cyclist who is becoming increasingly confused and irate, or will aimlessly drift into bike lanes because since they’re there they shouldn’t have to think about bikes at all. I’m sure they save lives one way or another, but they still contribute to global warming and they do get kind of annoying.