Painting the Town Green
Even in bike-friendly cities, cyclists have a problem: sudden loss of lane.
You know the drill. Your bike lane abruptly ends, you roll up to an intersection with no signs or marks to tell you how to proceed, and there are hungry motorists right on your rear fender. And the light changes.
As I’ve ridden a loaner bike all over the city of Göteborg in the last two days, I’ve realized that this problem of sudden loss of bike lane is universal for cyclists. Some cities are obviously better at bike signage and infrastructure than others.
Yet in many a situation, where traffic engineers would never think of NOT providing numerous signals to cars about what to do, bikes are left with no lane, no markings, and no communication.
I say we just paint these towns green.
Yes, there’s cost. I’d be willing not only to help paint but also to help pay.
If we really want cycling to be on par with public transport and pedestrianism as true alternatives to cars, it makes sense to truly establish a legal place for bikes to be.
Of course, this brings up the entire thorny problem of vehicular cycling, the right to the lane, etc.
It is an issue, I agree. I don’t want to give up my right to get in a lane, or hop on a sidewalk, when conditions of necessity or my common sense, tells me to do so.
When I see pictures like this one, of a cyclist getting ticketed for riding on the sidewalk, my feelings are mixed. I always take to the sidewalk when I feel it is safer for me to do so, yet I know sidewalk riding pisses off pedestrians (it pisses me off when I’m a pedestrian…we’re ALL pedestrians) .
Yet cyclists are generally in a double bind – banned from the sidewalks, and literally driven off the road by cars whose drivers sometimes erroneously believe they own it.
Green painted lanes everywhere would change this, I believe for the better.
A day ago I read an article in The Economist in which the author opined that traffic (and he or she was speaking of car and truck traffic) is concomitant of modern life. Yes, I had to look up the word concomitant, which means “associated with.”
While I can’t disagree, we can’t just accept ever-increasing car traffic but must work to make traffic less stressful – soothing green bike lanes are a super start.