It seems they’ve painted bike lanes on the street I’ve been meaning to use for interval practice.  Well, it’s not so much a bike lane bordered by white lines as it is a line drawing of a bike (like the ones on the “Share the Road” signs) with chevrons.  I’m sure there’s a technical term, and it may well be that it’s intended to function as a bike lane.  I don’t know.

I’m going to give them points for trying, but they made one very important mistake.  These new bike lanes are also supposed to serve (or so it seems) as street parking.  This is not a good idea, as it means at best you’re dodging parked cars while riding, and at worst competing for space with someone who wants to park there.  Is it only supposed to be a bike lane between 10am and 3pm Mondays through Fridays?

The kicker is, in Ohio, you can be ticketed for “taking the lane.”  Now, I’ve never had a police officer pull me over for it.  I ride in the right tire track unless there’s a pothole (or some other obstacle) or I have to…get around a parked car.  I do live (and this bike lane is in) a city whose police force will happily issue tickets for jaywalking, so I try to tread cautiously around them.  So I can theoretically be ticketed for riding in the traffic lane to avoid being “doored”?

C and I were discussing this, and he wondered why Mesa, Arizona, can make bike lanes work, but Cleveland can’t.  Part of it is that in Ohio, riding on the sidewalk is legal, though I can’t comment on its legality in Arizona.  I imagine this lessens the demand for bike lanes.  Maybe there’s a larger and more vocal biking community there?  One, perhaps, with a bit more persuasive power (ie, money)?  Being able to ride year-round helps keep one in the sport.  The big noticeable difference (for someone who did about 22 miles on the bike while there and spent the rest of the time in a car) is that there’s no street parking–every strip mall has a giant parking lot.  (Fun fact–there’s a shortage of bike racks, from what I saw, but there are bike lanes…)

What makes the riding cultures so different?  I welcome thoughts.

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1 Response to Fail.

  1. Beth Allen says:

    I love your blog!

    Living here in Mesa myself, and having lived in the past back east… I feel the difference is ‘land’. There’s lots of it here… and new developments…and they can make streets much wider. Mesa has some of the widest streets I’ve ever seen.. they say it’s the city of ‘wide streets and narrow minds’. 🙂 Anyway. That’s my thought. Land is not at a premium out here, they can make those gigantic parking lots and 6 lane streets.. including bike lanes!

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