Comment 39246

By mikeonthemountain (registered) | Posted March 29, 2010 at 11:19:11

@ Ryan:

People feel safer in bike lanes (and more so in separate bike paths) because it is freaky when cars are whipping past you at high speed. Think of a mom and kids biking in a shared lane with most cars not changing lanes to pass, zooming past at 60kph mere inches from clipping that family with side view mirrors.

You can solve that problem by consuming the whole lane; it is much safer since people change lanes to pass you properly, but then you become an increased target of road rage - rare, but it does occur.

Likewise, I've been bike commuting full time for two years, and I am using roadways will full confidence, lack of bike lanes does not bother me, but even I get scared in some places due to the sheer speed difference. I am not shy to consume a whole lane where it is safer and/or necessary. Road rage does not intimidate me; if someone is driving behind me honking I move out farther and make it clear that lane is taken (after a shoulder check; I'm not reckless).

Families and their kids cannot typically ride with that kind of confidence. It takes fortitude and practiced skill to share some of these busy roads. The feeling of increased safety is indeed a very real and necessary part of the infrastructure to get a larger demographic riding.

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