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The “right to ride” – An issue with bicycle lanes

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AdelaideNow has published online a commentary post by Gordon Kanki Knight on the issue of bike lanes. Mr Kanki Knight argues that if we as cyclists lobby for bike lanes, we are “lobbying to be marginalised and pushed off the road.”

The full commentary piece can be found at AdelaideNow but the opening few sentences follow.

As a dedicated commuter cyclist, I feel like a minority of one when it comes to discussing our city planners’ efforts to make Adelaide bicycle friendly.

In particular, I feel badgered to go along with the call for more bike lanes, but I refuse to give in to the hi-viz-jacket-wearing, pump-wielding mob.

Simply put, I hate bike lanes.

Not for the reasons that snarling, ham-thick-armed men in four-wheel drives hate bike lanes (and bikes), but because bike lanes are bad for cyclists.

Take the bog-standard roadside bike lane: a strip of white painted a few feet from the gutter. As if laid down by a bike hater, it shunts cyclists off to the side of the road to deal with the constantly stopping buses, pedestrians who think bike lanes are for standing in, illegally parked cars, roadside debris and drain grates.

Cyclists in a bike lane can’t ensure they stay visible to traffic, nor can they prevent cars overtaking or turning left at an unsafe time.*

As a relatively experienced cyclist I can relate to Gordon’s views and I note that Gordon does describe himself as a “dedicated commuter cyclist” however not every cyclist is a dedicated commuter cyclist and may not be as comfortable or assertive on the road as Gordon appears to be. If one takes a read of the Women and Cycling Survey 2013 this very theme does come through.

So for me I can understand where Gordon is coming from, but I don’t think it is as black and white as he is suggesting and rather we need a level of maturity to be shown on the roads and quality effective education programs.

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  1. Evaluation of Bicycle Lanes for Cyclists | Aushiker - April 28, 2013

    […] for Cyclists was prepared by CDM Research for VicRoads. It is an interesting paper in light of the recent commentary in AdelaideNow by Gordon Kanki Knight on bicycle lanes and what he sees as their negative impact on […]

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