Not Just for Cyclists

Bike corral on Santa Monica's Main StreetA road diet, bike lanes, and a flood of bike racks, plus three bike corrals, have brought new prosperity to Santa Monica’s Main Street

My last week’s post here was featured in the local Patch’s newsletter, which woke up a few sad souls, folks who must have been trembling with hate and desperate for an excuse to dribble vitriol through the internet by dissing York Boulevard’s bike lanes and cyclists. One who signed herself Daphne even went so far as to employ ALL CAPS to emphasize how she thought that “BIKE LANES ARE DANGEROUS AND SHOULD NOT BE ALLOWED. BIKERS HAVE NO PLACE ON CITY STREETS. THEY PRESENT A HAZARD TO LICENSED DRIVERS.”

Interesting thought process—perhaps Daphne has discovered a secret bicycle cabal has can discern which drivers are licensed and which are not, and endanger (somehow) only the former.

Of course, in non-delusional life it’s drivers themselves who are dangerous to other drivers (and their passengers)—not to mention everybody else who might dare to use the road, whether on a bike or simply walking across it to the store.

And road diets with bike lanes have been proven over and over again to reduce accidents for all road users, including motorists!

Wait a second…I think I didn’t write that properly…let’s try it Daphne’s way:

ROAD DIETS WITH BIKE LANES HAVE BEEN PROVEN OVER AND OVER AGAIN TO REDUCE ACCIDENTS FOR ALL ROAD USERS, INCLUDING MOTORISTS!

Not only that, they have not increased congestion.

For those with a taste for extremely dry analytical writing, you can peruse a study here.

In some places the safety improvement was more drastic than in the study above—New York City, for example, where “[...]after a parking-protected bike lane was installed on Manhattan’s Ninth Avenue, all traffic-related injuries dropped 50 percent. Injuries to pedestrians dropped 29 percent and injuries to cyclists dropped 57 percent.”

But wait, there’s more!

As I noted last week, those same 9th Avenue bike lanes resulted in a 49% increase in sales receipts for their merchants, compared to a 3% increase in other parts of the borough, three years after they were installed. (York’s lanes were studied only a year after they went in.)

Elsewhere, in Atlanta, a distinctly LA-like city, an article on a streetcar and bike lane proposal noted:

“Before the early 2000s, Edgewood and Auburn were nearly indistinguishable – abandoned storefronts and decaying buildings. Today, Edgewood is the most traveled bicycle corridor in the city. Not coincidentally, Edgewood is booming with nightlife and street vitality, and has been featured in articles from Southern Living to the New York Times — while, in stark contrast, Auburn Avenue, one block north but with no bike lanes, has again been named one of the 10 most endangered historic places in America.”

You have to wonder what Daphne and her rabid brethren have against the area’s merchants and shoppers, as well as its cyclists.

Because bike lanes aren’t just for cyclists. They are part of a transportation matrix that supports individual and community health and happiness and prosperity.

And streets as freeways just don’t do that, do they?

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2 Comments

  1. Scott
    Posted October 31, 2012 at 10:31 am | Permalink

    Bike lanes are dangerous?!

    Not in Daphne’s defense (in the least), but — as a cyclist — I can say there are some mindless people on bikes that make the rest of us look bad. Blowing stop signs / lights, weaving on the road, no hands on the handlebars with earphones in, or a cell phone plastered to their ear, riding on the sidewalk then blazing straight into an intersection, paying no attention. Those people are a danger to themselves and to other cyclists, and give ammunition to people like Daphne to fuel their hatred for cyclists.

    But to a point she’s right: bike lanes are dangerous — for cyclists!

    Drivers on Main St. can be absolutely oblivious to the fact that there’s a solid white line to their right marked “BIKE LANE” next to them, and just see it as: extra room to pass; extra space to drift into as they approach a driveway; a place to double park, or; an extra lane to drive up (seen that so many times). Or they are oblivious to the world, and are just as much a danger to themselves and other motorists, as well as cyclists (and sometimes pedestrians).

    And to the point of the article, here’s my “road diet”: for those of you living within 5 miles of work/home — get out of your car, and try riding to and from work. You’ll look better, feel better, and save the environment and yourself $$$.

  2. Posted November 1, 2012 at 9:22 am | Permalink

    always amaze me people that take the time to follow one’s posts and then post such absurd comments. would they really say it in person, I’ve wondered.
    While visiting this year, santa monica sure looks very different since last time I was there. Def. made a few coffee spots including this very peet’s and the refinery :)

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  1. [...] at the Bicycle Kitchen’s women’s-only Bicycle Bitchen night. Richard Risemberg writes that bike lanes benefit the entire community, including local merchants. Your access to mountain bike trails could depend on playing nice. South [...]

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