Sub-consciously I can’t help but think that cycle lanes are plainly a good thing. The recent article in the New York Times, NYC Cycle Paths highlights a backlash against cycle lanes, with a legal dispute shaping up – leaving aside some political bias for this lobby, more fully explored in this NYC article there does seem to be a clash of opinions or lifestyles or just plain old grievances being raised here. It’s made me consider the issue a little more.
Curiously enough, if you wonder around some cycle forums, a number of cyclists don’t like cycle lanes either! The argument seems to go that by segregating the cyclist from other road users they are stopping cyclists from using roads and reinforcing the idea among car drivers that roads are for them and not for all of us. As one who has been shouted at by an irate car driver to get on the cycle path I can concur with this view. However, I don’t especially want to be enjoying the birdsong and feeling the sun beam down on me while dodging juggernaut mirrors as they hurl past me at 60mph. So I guess I prefer leisure cycle lanes most of the time, but when commuting to work I want to get there using direct roads without making bizarre diversions to out-way spots as many of the cycle paths do.
I’d really much prefer to have cycle lanes as they do in Holland where they follow the roads and are separated from the road traffic, safe and practical! And where they do have pedestrian paths as well, separate from the cycle paths, and where if we all take a bit of care (for ourselves and for others) we can get by without running in to each other! And as for the New York retail argument – As one who can’t cycle far without stopping for food and drink or a daily paper I reckon a load of us cycling would encourage local shops rather than destroy them.