A dedicated bike lane is only dedicated if there’s a commitment to keeping cyclists safe.
A Redditor shared their frustrating experience in Charlotte, North Carolina, where a dedicated bike lane was filled with parked cars.
The street, outside an apartment complex, was painted with a white stripe, cycling image, and an arrow to indicate the shared road. There didn’t appear to be any signage alongside the avenue or a painted curb, and eight cars took up nearly all the pavement from the photographer to a side street.
“My apologies for trying to bike in the car storage lane,” the poster wrote.
Bicycling is a cheap, environmentally friendly alternative to driving, but too often it isn’t supported fully by infrastructure.
“The sad part is that this is a brand-new street constructed in what used to be a forest just a couple years ago,” the poster wrote.
The city could have made the bike lane safer by adding a painted buffer lane or physical barrier, according to Advocacy Advance, an organization “dedicated to helping states fully fund, staff, and implement safe bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure projects.”
Bicycles are much more affordable than cars and don’t produce pollution, and cycling regularly can help you stay healthy. Cyclists and pedestrians also spend more money in commercial areas than drivers or public transit users, and infrastructure generally boosts nearby retail and food service sales, according to the Environmental and Energy Study Institute.
“Good, safe, and inclusive bike infrastructure is not inexpensive,” Canada’s Reliance Foundry stated. “Country-wide, it costs between $133,170 and $536,680 per mile to build protected bike lanes on major streets.
“However, the savings are big in health benefits and economic stimulation. More importantly, they help municipalities reach Vision Zero, by reducing traffic fatalities for all road users.”
The United States Department of Transportation touts connective transportation networks that feature cycling and pedestrian infrastructure because they make health care, goods, and services easily accessible.
“Why hasn’t this been converted into a protected bike lane with barriers to actually prevent cars from parking?” one Redditor asked. “There are zero reasons a car ever needs to be there (e.g. if it were a ‘shared’ lane), so why even give them the option?”
Another user offered a temporary solution: “Don’t call the cops, call the towing service. They will take a picture of the illegal parking and tow the car and make big money.”
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