Here’s a rant for you. Regarding the latest article in the P.I. about the protest bike ride up Stone Way. In all honesty, the article makes it sounds like a bunch of namby-pamby whiner cyclists not getting what they want.
I think it should be known that this article does not represent the entire population of bikers in the city of Seattle. I actually don’t like bike lanes on Stone Way; I don’t like bike lanes anywhere really.
What do I want? I want the whole lane of traffic. I want motorists to see me and to not be surprised by my presence when I am no longer in a bike lane. (Is there going to be a bike lane on every street in the city?) I want to be seen by motorists. And I want to be seen by motorists as a realistic and viable user of the public streets that we are all sharing.
The ironic thing is, I already have the whole lane. It is my understanding that I can already legally ride in the lane of traffic by my definition of what riding as near to the right (or left) of the through lane “as is safe.” Is my ability to define what is safe for me being questioned? Are we not able to determine this for ourselves?
“Sharrows” in my opinion offer a decent amount of “education” to all users of the roadways without the explicit segregation and separation of a bike lane. This education is in Sharing the Road. We all pay for it, we all own it, we all have to share it. Simple as that. Whatever happened to signs indicating the same: Share the Road. Why not do a better job of educating everyone on cyclist’s rights and their presence on the road?
All this whining for bike lanes may get the cyclists in Seattle a bunch of things we don’t really want or need. More contempt and aggression from motorists most likely; with any “success” with bike lanes, more road segregation likely giving way to legislation diminishing our rights to the entire road (i.e.: it being illegal to ride outside of designated bike lanes); and perhaps the eventual licensing and further taxing of cyclists (they’re free to ride for a reason!). All I’m saying is, be careful what you wish for, especially when it concerns others getting it too.
Let’s assert the rights we already have and take the lane! Ride like you mean it! Ride like we belong—because we do! Honestly, does the bike lane provide you with any protection from motorists who may or may not see you riding in it? The bike lane will not protect you when they absolutely don’t see you and turn through it?