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There are two very different things here, in fact one I was gonna write about.

1. The PA Ave. bike lanes weren't located in an area where they are likely to be well used, at least given the prevalence of biking in the area now. So they look underutilized, and for people who expect that all road space belongs to them--EVEN THOUGH AS YOU POINT OUT, this was never space for driving--it seems galling.

2. Automobilists are so $%^&*() entitled that they think that only "transgressions" that they see by bicyclists are relevant and they are completely unequivocally blind to transgressions by motor vehicle drivers.

This is the Idaho stop issue, and in fact on the field survey part of the aforementioned workshop, someone asked us what we were doing, and then informed us that the absolute most important thing bike planners could do was dealing with bicyclists riding through stop signs.

I got almost vituperative, because he was obtuse about the counter-argument, even though I agreed with him that running red lights and stop signs in the face of oncoming traffic is an absolute no no.

But RELATEDLY, people like Karina Ricks are likely to hear the complaining automobilists, who are likely stoked by the AAA, when people like us are not likely to call DDOT or MPD even, when people yell at us, cut us off, we witness excessive speeding, failure to stop, red light running, etc. by motor vehicle drives.

Ricks would have firmer ground to stand on with that complaint if she and her office brought cycling advocates to the table from the beginning rather than ask for defenders after the fact. The changes to Penn Ave. are a good example of that, the DDOT Action Agenda is a better one.

Looks like the day when we're forced by law to use only the bike lanes is coming sooner than I thought.

Does Karina Ricks have any comments about the cyclists complaints about
1. Bike lanes that are blocked, including by city vehicles
2. MPD enforcement that is at best spotty, and arguably discriminatory (see cyclist hit by taxi).
3. Harrassment by motorists.

If you permit cars to park in the bike lanes, and do not protect cyclists, then cyclists will ride elsewhere and in a manner that keeps them safe.

For example, if I stop at stop signs and lights, and keep getting harrassed by idiots in cars, my safety would suggest not stopping.

Tonight I shall ride Pa Ave. And at each light I will look over and see 3 - 4 cars for the 3 lanes dedicated to them.

Have we reached the state where motorists think they are entitled to their own private lane?

This is the Idaho stop issue, and in fact on the field survey part of the aforementioned workshop, someone asked us what we were doing, and then informed us that the absolute most important thing bike planners could do was dealing with bicyclists riding through stop signs.

Right. The reason such positions seem irrational is that they're merely a pretense. There is a small minority of drivers who hate and resent cyclists. There are a host of reasons for this, (greater freedom of movement, culture-war factors, commuter frustration, etc...) but the bottom line is they make a convenient scapegoat.

So suddenly cyclists treating stop-signs as yields, and folks not wearing helmets is the greatest menace to freedom in America today, and must be stopped at all costs.

Doesn't matter if these things impact drivers in any appreciable way--if you're going to demonize a group of people, you need a behavior to focus your rage. Takes the responsibility out of the hands of the bully/abuser.

i've never seen car traffic too backed up on that stretch of Penn where the bike lanes are -- when exactly does that happen? also, it is such a short stretch of bike lanes, and not really connected to any other lanes in the system, i actually find them pretty inconvenient, but that may be just due to the specifics of my commute. i find that when i ride south on 14th st, trying to turn left to get onto the bike lane is a bit terrifying.

I think what Karina Ricks probably means is that if we don't speak up the way drivers do, not only will we struggle to see any expansions in bike programs but we may not keep the progress we've made.

She's not the bad guy here, she's simply playing her role as Associate Director of a city-wide service department.

Say what you will about Fenty - and I'm generally a fan myself - but his defeat was as much a referendum on sustainability as it was on the progress made under his administration. Commandeering roads for use by bicycles is likewise not a sustainable approach to making progress, even if we like the result.

DaveS, if that is Ricks point, I don't know what she expects. Does she think cyclists should call up DDOT to thank them for bike lanes?

We also haven't commandeered roads. Maybe a couple of miles tops and in places where the road isn't being used. Not only do I think this is a sustainable approach, but it's absolutely necessary. Why do you rob banks? because that's where the money is. Why do you take space from drivers? because they have it all.

Hmm, I guess some car drivers really like their medians.

The arguments drivers make about bike lanes taking away car space reminds me of nothing so much as the arguments that homophobes make about gay marriage--that it will ruin hetero marriage. The two things are not mutually exclusive! It is possible to have room for cycling AND for cars. They're only opposed to cycling because they're afraid of it, and insecure, and various other reasons, and are looking for ways to justify their prejudice.

If we promise not to use the awful Thomas Circle bike lanes will she promise to remove them?

Washcycle, all I mean is that if the AAA can burn our goodwill (by lobbying against things like the Pa Ave lanes) faster than we can earn it, not only will progress slow on new projects but nobody will speak in defense of our current facilities.

I know we don't commandeer roads, mostly, but that's the public perception, and that's what DDOT has to combat every time we ask for more bike lanes. We don't live in a world where good ideas win out solely on their merits; not always, not often, and sometimes not at all.

Calling DDOT and thanking them for bike accommodations that make a difference to you probably wouldn't hurt. Giving them suggestions for improvement would probably also be good. And while enforcement is a touchy subject for organized bike advocacy efforts, it probably wouldn't hurt to register your support for it, if that's how you feel. All the bike lanes in the world won't do a bit of good if they're officially unappreciated and unenforced.

Has AAA burned our good will faster than we earn it? I don't think so. To use a sports metaphor, they haven't stopped the run, so I'm not interested in passing yet. In other words, our current strategy seems to working so why change course?

I think WABA and others do make an effort to thank DDOT for positive changes. I seem to recall WABA publicly thanking Gabe Klein for the complete streets policy. And advocates often show up at events to suggest and support bike lanes; and often call for more enforcement.

I think this is all false criticism.

We change course because Fenty lost his job in part due to his support of bike programs and the perception that they only benefit the elite.

We change course because (as I read somewhere) NYC is taking out bike lanes in response to driver complaints.

We change course because we can't make further progress if our current course leads to escalation in the war on bikers. There aren't enough cyclists in the world to outvote the drivers, so we need to find ways to get them on our side.

We NEED to make driver education a higher priority. We NEED to have the support of some drivers to take our next steps. We NEED effective advocates in the government, in associations, and in media. We're not so rich or right that we can take our resources for granted.

It's great that WABA represents a bloc of cyclists, but if we as individuals also speak up we effectively double our voice. It's harder to set aside WABA plus hundreds of individuals than it is to ignore WABA.

I don't necessarily agree with Ms. Ricks and her admonishment, but I don't see harm in reflecting on the challenges.

We change course because Fenty lost his job in part due to his support of bike programs and the perception that they only benefit the elite.

Funny. You look at the polls before the primary, and what you see over and over again is that DC voters supported Fenty's policies overwhelmingly. Something like 80% of residents claimed the city was "on the right track." The one common thread was that Fenty was considered aloof, and that he didn't care about folks--didn't give them the warm-fuzzies.

Now, a few months down the road, everyone with an axe to grind claims that whatever their pet grievance with the mayor might be, *that* is the reason Fenty lost...at least "in part."

You're just wrong about that. Fenty didn't lose the election because of bike lanes, or because Hardy Middle School got a new principal, or because Ms Tregonning wasn't sufficiently deferential to the Committee of 100.

He lost because he made a careful study of being aloof, and because there's 20% unemployment across the Anacostia, and because he couldn't be bothered to go to the churches and press the flesh.

About 99% of the DC residents I know have at least one car. Nearly every single one of them is a "driver." They overwhelmingly support bike lanes, the direction Klein has taken DDOT, and especially the new bike-share infrastructure.

I know better, but I was quoting Dr. Gridlock, as cited in another WashCycle article. See:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/dr-gridlock/2010/11/bike-lane_tension_extends_beyo.html

I don't know who you know, but it sure doesn't feel like 99% of the drivers I see on the road support bike lanes. Or maybe they do, with the magical thinking that they would get us off their roads and out of their way.

Perhaps "support bike lanes" is meant as in the old "I'm not a racist" way where the next line is "but I wouldn't want one of them to marry my sister". The IDEA of bike lanes is fine, as long as we're not putting them on the roads drivers think they own.

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