Comment 72923

By Beery (anonymous) | Posted January 10, 2012 at 14:32:04

I have no idea what Chuck Schumer's real motives were in trying to remove that bike lane, but the fact is, not all bicycle infrastructure is good, and the vast majority is poorly implemented and ends up being more dangerous than a standard traffic lane.

While it's clear that a cyclist takes up significantly less space on the road than a motorist, this is only the case if the cyclist is cycling in the traffic lane. Bike lanes take up more space than any number of cyclists because they take a lane of traffic and make it essentially unusable for other road users - and totally uselessly, because cyclists can travel quite safely in the traffic lane. In fact, in nine out of ten studies done over the last 20 years in both Europe and North America, the traffic lane has been found to be safer for cyclists than bike lanes because bike lanes increase the chance of collisions, both at intersections (due to right crosses and left hooks) and between them (due to doorings because bike lanes are almost always in the door zone of parked cars).

I think the problem here is that too many people who fear riding in traffic are far too willing to assume that bike facilities are safe. They are not. They can be made safe, but only with huge expense, for example by leaving 4ft between parked cars and the bike lane and by implementing underpasses or overpasses for cyclists at each intersection so that the problem of turning conflicts is solved. Until such bike facilities exist, bicycle infrastructure will never be safer than an unmarked road.

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