I’ve been following the bike-v-car wars surrounding the rapid implementation of segregated bike lanes (or cycletracks, or whatever they’re calling them) in NYC. I haven’t commented on it much. While I don’t think bicycle rat runs are the solution to the larger traffic culture problems, I find the bike lane opponents’ arguments to be rather lame and selfish (IOW, car-centric). What’s been interesting, and completely predictable, is the anti-scofflaw backlash and the attendant overreaction by NYPD.
It comes back to the pyramid. If you have no foundation of respect and no education of bicyclists to be drivers when they leave the facilities (which don’t serve every destination and are slow and cumbersome to use), you can expect chaos, leading to frustration, leading to backlash.
This is not quality. It is a shortcut to quantity — increased bicycle counts.
The problem is, bicyclist behavior (throughout the U.S.) is a dysfunctional composition of inferiority/priority maneuvers that arise from bizarre, adaptive logic and follow neither vehicle nor pedestrian rules. Increasing the number of bicyclists without fixing the underlying problems, simply amplifies the dysfunction to the point where it becomes disruptive enough to generate a public outcry.
Shouldn’t bicyclists be more than objects to be counted, anyway? If, instead of fixating on the superficial goal of getting more butts on bikes, we took a deliberate approach to building a strong foundation for bicycling, we would see an emergent change in the traffic culture itself.
As our own Philip B. Crosby used to say: “Do things right the first time.”