Ditch the Bike Lanes

I had a short bike ride to soccer tonight with my wife and 6 year old son for his soccer game. My wife and son rode the entire way on the sidewalk. That was a smart move. Especially for the kid.

Toward opposite end of the vehicular cycling spectrum, I rode in the road. Sometimes in the bike lane, sometimes in the car lane. When my wife questioned me about why I was outside the bike lane I was reminded how vehicular my cycling actually is.

In this particular case, I rode in the car lane because the bike lane had too many obstructions for my road bike tires. They’re inflated to 90-100 psi and riding over a beer cap nearly throws me over the bars and these lanes were still pretty chewed up from the winter. But there’s other times when I forgo the bike lane too, here are some reasons:

  1. Too many obstructions – if I’m constantly ducking in and out of the bike lane to avoid obstacles, I feel it makes me too unpredictable to motorists passing by. I’ll take my chances in the traffic lane if it’s not too busy, or on the sidewalk. If you’ve seen Davenport in the past few weeks, you’ll know how dangerous unkempt bike lanes are.
    Cycle lanes as they should NOT be - geograph.org.uk - 1335598
  2. Approaching a busy intersection when I’m making a right turn – If there’s an opening in the vehicle lane when I’m rounding a right turn, I’ll take it. Otherwise cars frequently sidle up  too close when they try to pass me in the intersection.
  3. Travelling straight through a busy intersection then making a left turn in the driveway immediately after – This one occurs to me every day on my way to work. I cross Albert, then need to turn into Thirsty’s plaza. If I stick to the bike lane, I could be waiting a while to cross pedestrian style.

  4. In a bend that’s too narrow for two cars in opposite directions + me – Also an every day occurrence for me. I round a bend on Hazel and at peak times, there will be lots of two way traffic. Lots of drivers won’t realize they’ve made a mistake until they see the other car coming at them.

I just thought it was kind of neat how style changes as you get acclimatized to riding with traffic.

One thought on “Ditch the Bike Lanes

  1. This is why it would be very counter-productive to legislate bike-lane usage.
    Different days and roads call for different tactics. Being confident with car traffic helps a lot. I don’t advocate sidewalk riding, especially when there’s a perfectly good bike lane a few feet over, but I understand why people that that option.
    Stay safe brother.

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