Thursday, October 7, 2010

Rules of the Road Mean Something

20070526 bike-lane-car-share, originally uploaded by Jym Dyer.

Ladies and gentlemen, this is a bike lane. These are standard California bike lane markings (from San Francisco- notice the Muni bus and Zipcar). There are two hints in this photo as to how to use this road space. First, the bicycle- it says that this space is for bicycles. Not cars, not skateboards, not baby strollers, not joggers, not little Razor scooter things or Vespas or motorcycles or roller skates. Bicycles.

Second, there is an arrow under the car up there. It is pointing in the direction in which this lane is intended to carry traffic. By traffic, we mean bicycles. See above. The fact that the little bicycle would be upside-down the other way is also a big, glaring hint.

If you want to use this piece of asphalt, you have a right to do so. However, in order to exercise that right, you need to be on a bicycle travelling in the direction that the little arrow and bicycle dude are pointing- this is the direction of prevailing auto traffic as well, generally, so you should travel with the curb to your right.

If you are on a bicycle, you should be on this piece of asphalt, unless somebody's car is parked in it or there is another reason to avoid it. You should not be on that little strip of concrete to the right of the bike lane. That is called a "sidewalk". It is for people who are walking. It is also for people with skateboards, scooters, roller skates, jogging shoes or baby strollers. It is not for bicycles, at least not in Riverside. (RMC 10.64.310)

Cyclists and pedestrians, there are people like me who spend a lot of our precious free time fighting for facilities for you. When you then go and disregard simple, common-sense rules about the use of those facilities, you make it a lot harder for a) other people to use the facilities and b) people like me to argue that these facilities to be expanded. The car empire will point to your flagrant disregard for the rules of the road as evidence that all cyclists, pedestrians, and other non-car road users are inherently irresponsible, and thus undeserving of bike lanes and sidewalks.

Stop it. Please.

Oh, and when you ride your skateboard the wrong way in the bike lane past me, and I say "Dude, this is a bike lane", "F**k you" is not the proper response.

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