You can't make me ride in a bike lane.

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Bike Lane - Photo by Dan Gleiter

It seems like bike lanes are surfacing up overnight on just about every street in Los Angeles these days. I, like many cycling advocates in Los Angeles see this as a positive change for the city, one that benefits thousands within the community.

With the expansion of bike lanes throughout the city, I’m able to see more and more encouraged folks taking up their bikes to commute, and interest those who’ve never even thought of taking up cycling to commute. Bike lanes are GOOD.

With that said, I don't ride in a majority of the bike lanes in the area, and you can't make me. No matter how much you aggressively honk or yell in your harassing attempts at trying to spread your beliefs of where cyclists should and shouldn't be, I'm staying where I can legally be and want to be at.

Over the years I've had the pleasure of encountering some really aggressive and impatient drivers who feel it necessary to roll down their passenger window, lecturing me and fellow cyclists to get off the street they're on, and ride in another street that has a bike lane.

“STOP WASTING MY TAX DOLLARS! GET ON THE BIKE LANE!””THERE'S A BIKE LANE YOU IDIOT! USE IT!”

Listen, sure I’ll have to make you suffer the excruciating and tormenting pain of having to deal with the miniscule 5-10 seconds it takes to safely pass me, but angering you and other drivers is not what I’m trying to accomplish here. My goal has always been to get home and to work as safely as possible on my bicycle, and for me, riding in a bike lane has always led to a slew of dangerous situations and near-accidents in my commutes. There are also many places where there are no bike lanes and cyclists have no choice but to ride in traffic.

What most drivers don’t understand is that not all cyclists ride in the same manner and speed, and such differences determine for individuals if riding in a bike lane is safe or unsafe. For me and cyclists who ride at speeds of 22-27MPH, the last place we want to be is confined in a bike lane that has car doors opening up to our right, pedestrians/animals popping out between cars, and drivers making unsafe right-turns without legally merging into the bike lane. Again, it's not always a matter of speed. There are roads marked as bike routes — supposedly the safest places to ride — across the region that put cyclists out there with car traffic.

So please, understand that it’s not that cyclists such as myself who ride outside the bike lane want to anger drivers nor is it because we feel entitled to the road. It's because like any other person that uses the road, we all want to get to our destination(s) safely. And, more importantly, just because there’s the addition of a bike lane on a street, it doesn't mean that all the other lanes are suddenly reserved exclusively for cars now, and that I and other cyclists are required to use that bike lane.

 

44 replies

  1. LOL. That’s hilarious. Oh I don’t want to be in a bike lane because it’s really dangerous to have potential doors opening, but feel much safer in lanes near vehicles Thirteen Times heavier than me traveling up to three times faster than me. Makes perfect sense. Hey, while we’re at it, why don’t we go ahead and remove sidewalks and let pedestrians share traffic with cars and bicycles too since object size and speed don’t matter.

    I’m just curious, do they teach physics in school anymore? ‘Cause it certainly doesn’t seem like it.

    • Susan,

      I don’t think you have to go as far to insult someone because they feel differently about something than you. I’ve been car-free for years, and have been utilizing my bikes as my main mode of transportation. I am not saying all bike lanes are dangerous for all cyclists, and I want to make that clear. If however, you are traveling at the same speed as cars, or even faster, being in the bike lane is not necessary and can be dangerous, which has been the case for me. I feel much more secure riding outside the bike lane, as it allows me to safely be a part of traffic, and gives me more space to avoid obstacles. Statistically, the number of cyclists getting rear-ended by a vehicle is on the low-end compared to right-hooks and getting doored.

  2. Every time I have to step (sometimes jump) out of the way of a cyclist on a sidewalk I first curse cyclists under my breath and then freely admit that I would take the sidwalk too if I were in his place. City texters—I mean drivers—are not to be trusted.

  3. You are a jerk and one day someone is going to hit you and that will be the end for you! You don’t have any right to ride in the street tying up traffic and it is people like you that have gotten seriously hurt because of your idiocy.

  4. I was recently on an LADOT Dash and heard a bus driver uttering similar epithets about “belonging” in the bike lane. We need to change our mentality, it’s not convenience it’s safety. We all want to live. Cyclists make the decision for themselves where it is best to ride. We must avoid road hazards most cars would not notice/crush. If drivers in general slowed down it’d be much safer for everyone.

  5. I see where you’re coming from but then I ask you this. Do you stop at stop signs even if there’s no car? If you want to be treated like a car, follow all the rules of the road, not just the rules that suit you.

    • Will,

      I don’t want to be treated like a car. I want to be treated like a human being, that like everyone else, uses the road to get to their family after work. I see drivers running reds and stop signs all the time, not yielding to pedestrians and other drivers, I still seem them as a human being, not some obstacle in my way.

  6. Hey, Susan. What does physics say about a cyclist crashing into a just-opened door?

    I have the luxury of most of the bike lanes I ride in being far enough away from parked cars that I don’t have to worry too much about getting doored. However, there are those lanes that are too close. I’ve been alert enough, and far away enough, from clueless drivers opening their doors in front of me without bothering to check their mirror that I’m glad for that extra distance. If that slows a driver behind me down by five seconds, oh well. I also have the luxury of most of the drivers behind me understanding why I’m putting distance between me and car doors and they are generally cool about it (unlike Moe).

  7. You are so right. Here in Odenton, MD since they added gov’t jobs recently I see more people riding their bikes, but we do not have a bike lane and so far I haven’t seen any accidents, but the ones that do have a bike lane are not always observed by drivers. They just get on the bike lane as if that was a car lane. Regardless of where you ride, you have to be very careful and hyper vigilant:)

  8. I’ve used the bike lane on Sunset travelling east, and nearly got doored twice by the careless drivers. I’ve stopped using it since. It’s much safer to use the lane adjacent to it unless you’re going slow on the bike.

  9. Susan Bell wrote: “LOL. That’s hilarious. Oh I don’t want to be in a bike lane because it’s really dangerous to have potential doors opening, but feel much safer in lanes near vehicles Thirteen Times heavier than me traveling up to three times faster than me. Makes perfect sense.”

    It does make perfect sense that bicyclists can control lanes safely with cars behind, and the reason it does is for the same reason that a sedan can operate safely with a following semi or 18-wheeler. It is not size or mass that prevents crashes, it is visibility that keeps drivers from routinely running to each other. The traffic rules are designed to have a single, visible line of vehicles in a travel lane, and Jung understands this, and that is why he avoids door zone bike lanes like the one pictured.

    Susan concluded: “’m just curious, do they teach physics in school anymore? ‘Cause it certainly doesn’t seem like it.”

    I take that to mean you didn’t take high school physics. I’m a physicist by training, a satellite engineer by primary profession and I’m also a certified traffic cycling instructor (CSI) in the Cycling Savvy program, and a former the Smart Cycling program LCI, so I teach cyclists how to avoid the very real hazards like the ones Jung is describing.

    There are better ways to design bike lanes to support safe travel when there is on-street parking. Redondo Beach recently installed right buffered bike lanes that are entirely outside the door zone on the Esplanade:

    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=4656631825151&l=b96aa44a97

    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=4656780028856&l=ded9804508

  10. Susan’s comment above assumes that rear-end collisions are inevitable when bicyclists use a lane of traffic. This is far from the truth; rear-end collisions are actually quite difficult to have if everyone’s paying attention and following the rules. People slow down for buses, garbage trucks, city maintenance vehicles, etc. all the time without incident. Very often, all you need to do to slow down for a bicyclist is let up off the gas. Of course, this is all dependent upon the bicyclist exercising due care and good judgment when changing positions on the roadway. It’s when bicyclists fail to look over their shoulder and cut off other drivers that danger arises.

    It might be enlightening to read Section 21208 of the California Vehicle Code, which governs bike lane use. It specifically authorizes bicycle users to ride outside a bike lane in several situations when remaining in the bike lane is potentially more dangerous than riding out in the general travel lane. These situations are quite common in urban areas, making the requirement to use the bike lane nearly meaningless from a purely legal standpoint (the exception for “approaching a place where a right turn is authorized” exists nearly everywhere). In practice, most experienced bicyclists will use their own judgment as to whether conditions warrant using the bike lane or not. Like Jung said, it’s not done out of entitlement or anger; it’s just how bicyclists make the best of an imperfect situation.

    CVC Section 21208: http://www.dmv.ca.gov/pubs/vctop/d11/vc21208.htm

  11. For every motorist with a story about an antagonistic cyclist who made them late to work or brunch or whatever, I don’t know a cyclist alive without a story of a self-entitled motorist who felt the road was theirs alone.

    Cyclists and motorists have been coexisting in Europe for decades. In the Netherlands, drivers are trained use their right arm to open the door, so they are forced to look behind before exiting their vehicle. In the U.S., bike lanes are a new installation in most places. My Driver’s Ed didn’t say anything about cyclists, but that was in the Midwest and the 90s.

    By and large, I have to believe that most motorists want to do the right thing and not hurt anyone, and everyone wants to get to where they’re going. Because I’m a cyclist, after all.

    Cyclists are afforded a particularly generous swath of the vehicle code: like pedestrians, they always have the right of way but like motorists, are entitled to a lane of traffic if they want one and are obligated to follow the same laws. To some motorists it may seem unfair but these reasons are pretty simple—cyclists can’t move as fast or take up as much space as cars. If a cyclist hits something, it can usually be fixed with paint, or maybe a cold pack and some band-aids. If a car hits something, it usually means an expensive trip to the body shop or an ER visit.

    In many localities, it is legal for cyclists to ride on the sidewalk, that’s the last place—not to mention the most dangerous—for a cyclist to be.

    Ideally, the place for bike lanes is in the center of roadways, where cyclists are more visible and less susceptible to quick right-hand turns and opening car doors. However, most city planning does not permit for this. In the meantime, everyone has to share the road, and discussions like this will help us all get along better. I hope.

  12. Agreed, Will Helmn, I’ve lost track of the number of cyclists that run stop signs, red lights, ride the wrong way, fail to yield to pedestrians, signal to turn, etc, etc, etc. Let’s all stop pretending like 100% of the problem here are the operators of motor vehicles. Don’t be a jerk. Stay OUT of the way. Doesn’t matter if you’re a slow moving car, a pedestrian waiting until the number 3 on the cross-walk sign or, yes, a precious bicyclist that would prefer not to wait until the coast is clear to move 13 MPH on the road way.

    And yes, I’m aware of the law, but there are a lot of stupid laws. You don’t register bicycles like you do a car, and the registration fees are meant to pay for the upkeep of the road. Perhaps we need to change that so that the pavement to which they feel entitled is also a cost they too must share.

  13. It’s true that suddenly opening car doors can be a hazard. There are ways to reduce (but not eliminate) the hazard.

    1) I love love LOVE my disc brakes, making it much easier to stop on a dime (almost) if/when needed.

    2) Increase visibility – (a) my strobing headlight is always on during the day (strobe mode instead of constant-on also increases the battery life as well as being more attention-getting), (b) I always wear bright neon/fluorescent shirts or vests (the kind the road work crews use, cheaper and most often brighter than the specialized bike-wear).

  14. If there weren’t inconsiderate cyclists and the area wasn’t dominated by inattentive and law-breaking motorists…This city is the poster child for hit and run motorists, texting and cell-phoning at the wheel and road rage. Until it changes and people obey the laws it’s too dangerous to ride bikes in traffic.

  15. If “bike lanes” are being built at taxpayer expense to “accomodate” bicyclists, then they CAN AND SHOULD be RESTRICTED TO RIDING IN THEM! Maybe if they get enough of their own lanes, they will then be able to ride as MUCH as they want, SAFER then they do now, and keep their bikes OFF MTA buses and trains! It is pathetic that bus riders should have to have a bus slowed down to “accomodate” a bicyclist, or that train riders should be forced to STAND in a rail car, because bikes are being put, where PASSENGER SEATS could be! You want to ride your bike, RIDE IT! IN THE LANE BUILT FOR YOU! STAY OFF THE MTA BUSES AND TRAINS! You think the distance you are going to is “too far to bike”? THEN LEAVE THE BIKE AT HOME! Quit inconvieniencing bus and train riders with your OCD need to be “accomodated” with your bikes!

  16. @Aetheistically Yours:

    Bicyclists *are* required to use bike lanes. They have to justify their presence outside of it, under one of the safety exemptions contained in CVC 21208. There are very good reasons for having these exemptions, and they apply nearly everywhere in urban areas.

    Accommodating bikes on trains and buses is one of the ways Metro maximizes the reach of its system and enables more people to use it. I wouldn’t be able to take transit to work if I couldn’t take my bike with me, as my office isn’t convenient walking distance to any bus or train stops. And it doesn’t take all that long to load/offload a bike on a bus rack. If you get on or off at a busy stop, you can usually get your bike situated in less than the time it takes for everyone else to board and pay their fare.

  17. Car owners haven’t paid for the road they ride on since the 1960’s. The gas tax and registration since then has NEVER paid for the repair of roads. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure that out since our roads are falling apart and we don’t have enough money to fix potholes in LA. If anyone is entitled to use the road, it is cyclists based on the damage to the road per mile ridden based on vehicle weight.

    A huge oversight by the vast majority of car drivers seems to be how they are even allowed to use normal traffic lanes instead of moving to the right curb in heavy traffic. Car drivers cause the vast majority of the traffic on the Westside. A enlightening moment is realizing that cyclists should be on the left side of the lane and most cars should be hugging the curb. So, yes, get out of the way of my two wheeled vehicle and get off the road you don’t pay for.

  18. The biggest reason I take the lane is predictability. If I’m in the lane, cars can tell exactly where I am and exactly where I’m going. I don’t have to swerve out of the bike lane and into traffic when a coupe with 4.5′ doors opens up. And I don’t have to fly from off the sidewalk into the intersection almost unnoticed with some truck’s ABS in full force.

    It’s safer for me, a cyclist, and most importantly it’s safer for the driver. I’m pretty certain (s)he doesn’t want to face a possible manslaughter charge, nor do I want to take a ride in the meat wagon.

    Sure, it’ll slow your car trip down a little. But just a little.

    It takes all of a couple of seconds to turn on your blinker (you’re doing that, right?), check your blind spot (you’re doing that, too, right?), and merge into the next lane and zip on past me.

    But let’s bring it back to my message: I’m not acting with malice when I, or Jung, take the lane. I’m doing it as a service to the driver. The better you’re able to predict the path I’m taking the better it is for both parties. I know because I own bikes and a car, and being a cyclist makes me a better, more conscientious driver.

  19. @Atheistically Yours:

    First, cyclists pay taxes for roads as well. They have been paying taxes for roads before, during, and after designated bike lanes. The vehicle code has common-sense provisions for people who ride bicycles for a reason.

    Second, bike lanes are often a very dangerous place to ride because motorists aren’t used to coexisting with cyclists, and their proximity between traffic and parked cars makes them prime territory for opening car doors, pedestrians, and improper right turns.

    Third, public transportation is for, well, the public. As in, everyone. This is another area in which the city of Los Angeles trails far behind most other major US metropolitan areas in a lot of respects, routes, availability, reliability, and the ridiculous no-free-transfer policy most notably. Be that as it may, it is a service available to everyone. Cyclists pay the same price to ride the bus or train. There are designated areas on trains to stand with their bikes, as well as racks on buses. If you have a beef with an individual cyclist who takes up seats, take it up with them. Do you also think artists their large portfolio cases should similarly be barred from public transportation? If you can’t spare an extra minute of inconvenience in your commute on public transit, you’re free to take a cab or drive your own car, you know.

    Fourth, make all the value-based judgments you want, but it’s not your decision who does what with their bicycle, their bus or transit fare, or their portion of the vehicle code.

  20. @drewcandraw

    The Gas tax and car registration fees are the where much of the funding for streets come from. Please name specific fees that bike owners Must pay.

    Which leads to an interesting question that maybe Steve or Metro would like to answer since this is an affiliated blog:

    If the Bike lanes ARE dangerous, and current laws are reasonable, why spend any Tax money on them or extend them especially when the people they are designed for will not use them.

    • @in the valley: In Southern California, most people who own bicycles also own cars and as such do pay those taxes. I own a car, I pay those taxes even though I seldom drive because for a lot of reasons I would rather ride my bike.

      The reason that there is no state-sanctioned bicycle registry with requisite fees is quite simple: bikes contribute little if any to the wear and tear on our roadways and they contribute nothing to air or noise pollution.

      Bicycles are not motorized vehicles and therefore different rules apply. Motorists have always had to be alert and drive defensively. The road does not belong solely to motorists, and never has. Even now with a bike lane, motorists still have to share the road. If you don’t like it, take a bus, train, cab, or stay home.

      As a cyclist, I use my rights under the vehicle code to make decisions on how to get where I’m going quickly and safely.And bike lanes, while a great idea, are at least some of the time a more dangerous place to ride than in a traffic lane. Anyone who has navigated a bike lane on a busy street can vouch for this. Personally I prefer often to ride on a dividing line, so as to not impede cars and be visible.

      • Hi drewcandraw;

        Thank you for your comment and I agree with you. And that’s the reason I published “you can’t make me ride in a bike lane.”

        Jung is a very talented and hardcore cyclist and he’s not representative of the average cyclist in our region. But I think he wrote about a dilemma that many of us face as cyclists: bike lanes that feel no safer than the vehicle lanes.

        I live in Pasadena. There are two problems I frequently encounter with bike lanes in my part of town: 1) There is no buffer between the bike lane and the parking lane. If a car door is suddenly thrown open or a car pulls out from the parking lane into the street without looking, I’m toast. 2) Bike lanes are on the very edge of the road, meaning I have to deal with loose gravel and/or things blocking the lanes such as trash cans or illegally parked vehicles.

        It’s a big problem especially for those who quite comfortably can ride somewhat fast on a bike. And although Jung’s post may not have been super politically correct, I think it’s a point worth raising as many cities in our region add bike lanes. Bike lanes are great — but they have to be well designed and safe, too.

        Steve Hymon
        Editor, The Source

  21. By the logic (?) of this article, I should be able drive my car in any lane I want at any time because I think it’s best for me. Two right-turn lanes have been put on street corners near where I live. At each intersection, they are clogging up traffic in the one non-turn lane. By the logic of this article, I should just ignore the “right turn only” signs. HOV lanes? Forget that. It’s an open lane so I should be free to use it whenever I want. An open left-turn lane? Makes a good way to pass up everyone sitting in a line. I’m sure there are times when it safer to ride a bike in a regular traffic lane and I’m fine with that happening. However, if you can ride in a bike lane please do so; otherwise, why were they installed in the first place?

  22. @Bob Thomas, what law is the writer of this post breaking by not riding in the bike lane for safety reasons? You’re comparing apples to oranges, because if you were to ignore the right-turn only signs, you would be making a traffic violation. Use common sense.

    “However, if you can ride in a bike lane please do so; otherwise, why were they installed in the first place?”

    So why don’t you ditch your car and start riding a bike? After all, the city is installing them to get more people to ride bikes.

  23. “The Gas tax and car registration fees are the where much of the funding for streets come from. Please name specific fees that bike owners Must pay.”

    Fuel taxes go mostly toward the construction and maintenance of a massively expensive highway infrastructure that bicyclists generally aren’t allowed to use. A portion of state fuel taxes get returned to local municipalities for road maintenance, but it tends to be a small percentage of each city’s overall transportation budget, which is funded overwhelmingly by revenues from property, sales and other taxes that are a) paid by drivers and non-drivers alike and b) paid at the same rate regardless of how much or how little you drive.

    Even if we don’t make this distinction between highways and surface streets, state and local roads are still overwhelmingly paid for by sources other than user fees charged to drivers (i.e., gas taxes and tolls). In California, less than 1/4 of state and local road spending is covered by gas taxes and tolls. http://taxfoundation.org/article/gasoline-taxes-and-tolls-pay-only-third-state-local-road-spending

    Bicyclists also cause orders of magnitude less wear and tear on city streets, thus imposing much lower maintenance costs. In the end, the maintenance of most municipal streets ends up being subsidized by those who drive the least.

    Motor vehicles have to be registered (and insured as well) because they are a) expensive pieces of property and b) easily capable of inflicting massive damage on other expensive pieces of property (not to mention what happens when a human being gets struck by one). It’s important to be able to identify each individual vehicle and its owner so that responsibility can be assigned and compensation made in the event of a collision. It takes money to administer this registration system, which is why drivers have to pay fees. Bicycles can be expensive, and pose some risks to life, limb and property, but not nearly to the same extent that is true of motor vehicles. Choosing to operate a heavier, more expensive vehicle that poses greater risks to those around you (and paying the costs associated with it) does not mean you’re making a bigger net contribution; it means you’re imposing more costs on others.

  24. “If the Bike lanes ARE dangerous, and current laws are reasonable, why spend any Tax money on them or extend them especially when the people they are designed for will not use them.”

    Most people who ride bikes *do* use bike lanes. The vast majority of bicyclists are not as fast as Jung, and are much more intimidated by the prospect of riding in front of cars. Jung’s simply highlighting the fact that conditions may call for riding outside of the bike lane from time to time depending on the situation and the speed of the rider.

    And anyway, the answer is not to stop striping bike lanes; it’s to start making bike lanes that aren’t dangerous. Placing the bike lane on the curb side of parked vehicles is one step cities could take and are increasingly taking. It comes with its own set of hazards, however, and requires additional money to be spent on redoing traffic signals and moving bus stops around. If you don’t want to follow behind bicyclists, you should support spending more money on bike lanes and bike paths.

  25. @Niall Huffman

    “Most people who ride bikes *do* use bike lanes.” Where is the evidence? Based upon the author of this article and some of the comments here, bike lanes are dangerous and they refuse to use them.

    You have not addressed any SPECIFIC fees that bike riders have to pay which was a main point that I was making. This blog states that drivers cover 51% of road spending……and they are using the SAME report as you.
    http://dc.streetsblog.org/2013/01/23/drivers-cover-just-51-percent-of-u-s-road-spending/

    I don’t wont to get into a game of statistics with you, but it is more complicated than you suggest.

    @drewcandraw
    The vehicle code cuts both ways, if you do not like it, stay off your bike.

    I really am not a hater of bike lines, but there needs to be a more rational and objective look at these issues before they become a zero sum game.

  26. If bike lanes are being built to “accomodate” bicyclists on city streets, then there should be NO accomodation of them on MTA buses and trains. Taxpayers should NOT have to pay for both bike lane development AND their presence on MTA buses and trains that slows the buses down, and takes up space on light-rail trains!

    • Hi Aesthetically Yours/Anonymous Commenter;

      I believe this is an opinion that shows little thought or logic, to put it charitably. As anyone knows who has been outside lately, the vast majority of streets in our region lack bike lanes. If buses and trains can help cyclists navigate those areas — or others — then it seems like a good trade-off if it helps encourage someone bike who otherwise may not.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

  27. There is a certain arrogance here that grates. If I’m going to share the road with cyclists, it’s only fair that cylists 1.) are obligated to have insurance, and 2.) be licensed, just like me. I’ve had cyclists cut me off; I’ve seen them run red lights and stop signs without any thought of the consequences; and I almost killed a pair of recumbent cyclists zooming in and out of traffic as if there were no one else on the road. I’m not supposed to drive in or block bike lanes? To apply Mr. Gatoona’s attitude…make me.

    • @CoyleHigh, you already share the road with other car drivers. I can tell you for a fact that not all drivers are insured or even licensed, and I’m pretty certain you’ve been cut off by car drivers as you have been by cyclists, and have seen car drivers run stop signs and reds as well. By law you must share the road with drivers as well as cyclists, no matter how awful you feel about the other party. What point are you trying to make by blaming only cyclists?

  28. @in the valley

    I don’t have any problem at all with the vehicle code with regard to cyclists or motorists. We all need to share the road to get to where we’re going, and the laws governing us make sense.

    It seems that your objections to motorists sharing the road with cyclists are rooted in the fact that cyclists need not be licensed or pay any of the other taxes or fees associated with owning and operating motor vehicles.

    But the facts are simple: motor vehicles are subject to these fees and taxes because of the associated liabilities–specifically, potential to cause property damage as well as creating wear and tear to roadways.

    Bicycles, on the other hand, are exempt from such taxes and fees because in comparison they create an almost negligible amount of wear and tear to roadways. And while they are capable of inflicting personal and property damage, that too is far less extensive.

  29. Because you stated that you refuse to use the lanes specifically marked out for your use. That’s the topic at hand, isn’t it? I don’t know of any automobile drivers that have, in print, at least, publicly stated that they refuse to stay in their lanes or, in general, obey traffic laws. This, to me, smacks of arrogance. My point is that it is illegal for drivers in the State of California to operate their vehicles on the road without car insurance and a license that proves competency. Are you ‘special’? Again, if I am going to share the road with you, be insured and be required to have a license. That’s all I’m saying.

    • @CoyleHigh,

      It’s not up to you if you want to share the road or not with me or any other cyclist. By CA law you have to share the road, so if you can’t do so, then you should not be driving at all. You really should brush up on your California driver handbook.

      And, yes it is illegal for drivers in CA to operate their motorized vehicle(s) without insurance and a license. Operating a non-motorized bicycle without the two IS NOT ILLEGAL.

      BTW, if you’re going to post these comments inside the Metro building, you might as well shoot me an email and we can discuss this over lunch. 🙂

  30. @inthevalley: Why on earth should people be required to pay specific fees for riding bicycles when they don’t impose anywhere near the same costs they do when they drive cars? I’m asking you to consider the *net* contributions the users of each mode are making.

    That 51% figure is for *all* road spending in the US, which means it includes freeways that bicyclists are ***LEGALLY PROHIBITED FROM RIDING ON.***

  31. One last thought: the whole reason to have bicycle-specific infrastructure such as bike lanes in the first place is due to the danger posed by allowing powerful, heavy motor vehicles to operate on public streets. I submit that even if people who ride bikes made a net-zero contribution to road construction and maintenance (which is *not* the case), it would still be just to make automobile drivers pay the full cost of this infrastructure, as mitigation for the consequences of designing streets to support the operation of their vehicles at speeds that pose serious danger to life and limb.

  32. Niall wrote: “One last thought: the whole reason to have bicycle-specific infrastructure such as bike lanes in the first place is due to the danger posed by allowing powerful, heavy motor vehicles to operate on public streets.”

    Not so. Bike lanes in the door zone, or full of debris, or on intersection approaches, create car-bike and road edge hazards for bicyclists, and are not there for safety, rather they are there to get bicyclists out of the way of overtaking motorists, so they are much more for motorists than cyclists (Hmmm, who should pay for that?). Bike lanes are the striped version of the FTR (far to right) law, which shoves bicyclists to the edge for the benefit of overtaking motorists. To learn more about how our lane rights were taken away, please read this article on the history. What the CHP did to us in 1963, by enacting the FTR law to treat all cyclists as children is particularly scandalous:

    http://www.iamtraffic.org/equality/the-marginalization-of-bicyclists/

  33. Dan actually makes a good point: bike lanes are there at least as much for motor vehicle operators’ benefit as they are for bicyclists’ benefit. (I actually maintain that there are safety benefits to having bike lanes, and there is a growing body of empirical research that shows this to be the case.) Any way you cut it, there’s a very good case to be made that bike-specific infrastructure is necessitated by high-speed motor vehicle operation on public roadways, and therefore it would be fair if drivers were asked to bear the cost of that infrastructure.

  34. I’m a fan of the Spring and Main street painted lanes, but when it is time for me to head up 7th…I need the left lane. I need the left lane, because I’m making a left turn. I pay my taxes, I’m a good citizen, and I feel well within my rights to use the left lane when I need to make a left turn. Thanks Jung!