More times than I can count (three times this past week alone!), while walking, I have been forced almost right on top of the median that separates the sidewalk from the bike lane by insane cyclists barreling towards me. I mean, the bike lane is right there! On the other side of the cement median! It’s wide, it’s clearly marked as a bike lane, it’s a lane quite separate from those designated for cars. Why are you twits riding on the sidewalk and terrorizing me?
Now, I have nothing against bike lanes themselves. I’ve been to the Netherlands several times, and consider Amsterdam, in particular, to be one of my favourite cities in the world. I have seen how well the bike lane system works there and in other Dutch cities. It’s well-used and seems to be well-organized. The only problems I ever saw were because of a stupid pedestrian or two not paying attention to the oncoming bike traffic – and, to be fair, one of those stupid pedestrians was … uh … me. I had such a hard time getting used to watching for cars AND bikes! I almost got run over by bikes more than once. The Dutch were probably quite relieved to see me leave the country – I was an accident waiting to happen. I very quickly learned to yell “Het spijt me” (I’m sorry) as I jumped hastily out of the way.
But from what I’ve seen and experienced here in the Vancouver area, we just don’t have that same type of biking culture as in the Netherlands. Many people just don’t seem to understand the intent of bike lanes: they exist to keep cyclists separate from vehicular and pedestrian traffic, and the idea of that is to keep everyone as safe as possible. We’ve created an awful lot of bike lanes over the last several decades, so if people are going to ride their bikes, they’d better use them! Otherwise, let’s just give them all over to vehicular traffic and let the cyclists take their chances with trucks and cars and buses.
So, bike riders, if you don’t want to use your own designated bike lanes, then get onto the road and see how you enjoy being with the traffic. Just keep the hell off the sidewalks, especially when you see me walking there. I’ll be the snarky-looking woman with the pink iPod yelling at you.