I read an intresting article called The Great Debate: Vehicular vs. Segregated Cycling by Stacey Moses which introduces the debate over what to do with streets. Is it better to integrate bicycles by treating them the same as cars for the purposes of position in the street, or would it be better for the bicycles to separate them with special lanes or a physical separation like concrete? I wonder.
The official stance of ABC, I believe, is to follow what was laid out in the Albany Bicycle Master Plan which advocates for bike lanes from the physically separated to the integrated.
Most bikers will tell you, especially the ones that are just starting to ride in traffic, that they prefer bike lanes to riding in the same lanes as cars. For most cases I would say, at least for me, that this is true. When I am riding down Central Ave. I say a prayer the entire way that some car does not side swipe me onto the sidewalk, and believe me this almost happened a few times. Although there have been time where I have found it easier to ride in front of cars on a four lane road then take to the sidewalk.
I have talked to many people about this, drivers and cyclists alike, and from a driver’s prospective the most prevalent and pervasive comment is that, “Bicycles should not be in the road anyway” to which spawn a twenty minuet “your wrong” fest in which no side really makes any headway.
So are bike lanes the answer, or is that admitting to the drivers out they that, “Yeah we don’t belong on the road. So we have to change the road to accommodate ourselves?” Maybe riding with traffic is the way to go to say to motorists that we do belong in the road and we are here weather you like it or not, something the Critical Mass event seems to be trying to do.
Who knows? If we had the answer it would not be a debate. All we can do is look at what other people have done and try to emulate what works. I encourage you to read the article and decide for yourself. Also, check out the comments at the bottom. Some of the people make good points.
If you have something to say pleas feel free to leave a comment.