Bike lanes are both a blessing and a curse, and anybody that has done much commuting in urban environments has likely experienced both sides of that. On the blessing side, studies have demonstrated that bike lanes do, in fact, encourage more folks to ride. However, it may also create a false sense of security, and can even create greater danger in some situations. Here in US cities, most bike lanes are right in the “door zone” along parallel parked cars, causing cyclists to need to dart into traffic unexpectedly should a car door get opened in front of them. Couple that risk with the pretense of “Mandatory Use Laws” and the dark side of bike lanes shows itself.
New York cyclist Casey Neistat put together a video in response to a ticket he received for riding outside of the bike lane on a New York street. The video has taken off, due in large part to his rather dramatic demonstration of the utter absurdity of the uneducated interpretation of exactly what mandatory means. Here’s to you Casey – for putting your self on the line to demonstrate to the world what should have already been obvious – but wasn’t.
In contrast, the fuzz on the other coast in San Francisco does a great job of illustrating exactly why and when “mandatory” is anything but.