Last night at a ward transportation meeting I finally got to hear it: “My best friends are bike lanes”. AKA the plight of the motorist.
In many words, bike lanes and other kinds of infrastructure that make bicycling in a city safer and more comfortable must be impinging on driving and the needs of the motorist must be considered.
Okay, it wasn’t exactly uttered “my best friends are bike lanes”, but no one ever says that verbatim.
It went more like this: “We’re all for more biking. Biking in the park, more of that, that’s great. But you have to consider the motorist because there’s very little bicycling in our neighborhood and most of us don’t ride bikes.”
No one ever says that they oppose the act of riding a bicycle. Doug Gordon keeps a diary of the different ways these phrases are coded. They say something that sounds like the opposite: “I’m not against cycling” and “We’re not opposed to bicycle lanes”.
Yes, they want more biking…but not if it affects driving.
Well, that’s just not possible.
And we’re not even starting from a place of equality, either, regardless of how many people in the neighborhood are riding bikes versus driving cars.
No, instead, there is zero infrastructure for bicycling, and all infrastructure is optimized (er, “accommodating”) for driving. However the city staff at this meeting said there are some times, evident from their traffic counts, when bicycles made up 10 percent of traffic on certain streets in the neighborhood.
So there are people bicycling, yet are not accommodated. Driving is fully accommodated and anything less than that is essentially impinging on this motorist’s right to drive and park for free on publicly-funded streets.