It is hard to follow general bike news these days without reading about passionate opinions related to bike lanes. For the most part, when bike lanes are added it seems to anger a large number of people who complain that the bike lanes cause more problems than they solve. Passionate individuals will write editorials to complain or make YouTube vidoes that garner over 4 million hits to make a humorous point.
The way most bike lanes are set up in NYC makes them very unappealing to ride in. Just the other day I passed this great example of what you are most likely to see if you spend anytime trying to actually use a bike lane. It might be hard to decipher everything exactly so an explanation is posted below the picture -
There is a delivery truck that I guess was trying to respect the bike lane by parking in traffic (black truck). If a cyclist did want to utilize the lane it would be a tight fit. The hazard lights were on and the black truck was stopped, causing the guy in the white truck to try to get around him which in turn pissed all the drivers in the other lanes off off who honked at him thus causing uncomfortable amounts of noise for pedestrians. Oh, and you can see that the guy in the white truck blocked cross traffic (the light is red) so there are a bunch of pissed off drivers wanting to cross honking their horns as well.
A police officer on a horse is in the bike lane issuing a citation to the delivery truck (see the light blue helmet of the officer). Meanwhile the delivery guy is sitting on a keg of beer in the bike lane.
Sadly, it is very difficult to ride in a bike lane for more than two blocks at a time in NYC without some sort of hazard like this and when you do ride in the bike lane there is a constant stream of pedestrians darting out unexpectedly from the gaps in between the cars to jay walk. Taking all of this into account, I find it more appealing to ride in traffic most of the time, especially because I can go fast enough not to interrupt traffic.
There are different ways to respond to motorists that do not respect bike lanes and reader Erik sent along an interesting tactic used by a mayor in Lithuania.
From autoblog.com comes the following text:
A word of advice: The next time you're cruising the streets of Vilnius, Lithuania in your luxury ride and are suddenly beset by the urge for a cup of kvass and/or a slice of honey cake, don't just pull over and leave your vehicle illegally parked in a bike lane. Seriously. Mayor Arturas Zuokas and, we imagine, Lithuanian cyclists, aren't amused by such antics.
While some municipalities might be content to leave tickets on the windshields of bike-lane blocking scofflaws, the good mayor recently realized owners with Mercedes-Benz, Ferrari, and Rolls-Royce keys in their pocket not be dissuaded by such minor punitive action, so he decided a better parking enforcement tool might just be an armored personnel carrier.
You see the result to start, but watch the whole video for the details.
If readers out there have bike lane pictures, stories, commentary, etc. feel free to email us.