Opinion: Why Have Bike Lanes for North Broadway Project
I'm not an active biker at this point in my life, but I have always been pro-bicycles. And as much as I want to see bikes enjoying their right of way in traffic, I just can't hit the "Yes!" button on adding bike lanes in the North Broadway project. Not for some of the reasons I hear, like, "These bikes, they don't follow the law!" Sure, but then cars don't belong on the roadway either.
So, why AM I a no on bike lanes in this case>? A few points.
a) I'm pro-bike-lane, but I'm anti-accident. Sure, bikes have the right to the right-hand side of the lane in Minnesota. But often they have to share that lane with a car, and it is often unsafe. A bike lane increases safety, but from personal experience, Minnesota drivers are dough-heads and on a street as busy and full as North Broadway, I believe the danger is much more significant. Should drivers follow the law where bikes are concerned? Sure. But they should also use turn signals, and I'm not holding my breath for it.
ii) "If you make a bike lane, they will use it." We have bike lanes. Are they being used with enough frequency to justify more around the city? My anecdotal evidence says, "No." The only significant bike use I see is from kids.
3) In a PB letter to the editor, Honest Paul's Bike Shop owner (and candidate for the 1st Ward seat on the Rochester City Council), Paul Myhrom says, "The majority of the customers at my bicycle shop are opposed to bike lanes. They want bike trails." There are few things I agree with PM about, but I've not known him to be dishonest. And the use of the trails justifies their existence and growth.
So, I say, build bike lanes, one street over in either direction! 18th Avenue? Sure...plenty of room up near Casey's to build the lane as a trail. Great plan. Go for it. But downtown? I just can't say yes.
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