What is it about bike lanes that incite so much consternation? It is, after all, just some paint on the street. You don’t see people screaming their heads off about crosswalks, but paint a bike lane and watch the angry letters pour in. I think it’s because it gives everyone involved a concrete, physical idea of precisely where to get their feelings hurt.
If I may trans-blogularize and wax needlessly philosophical for a moment, sometimes I wonder if lines of demarcation generally just make life worse by giving us more to stress about. After all, bikes can ride down streets without bike lanes, and cars are about as rare in a bike lane as sluts in a tour bus, so what’s the point? The real answer is greater understanding and increased community spirit. That, and maybe a shower for the sluts, but I’ve already said too much.
Do not disunderstand me, electronic friend. Surely the largest percentage of drivers and cyclists on the road get to their destinations without a shred of ire or sluttiness, happily giving way to each other as needed and causing no one undue duress. It’s just that some people have an affinity for duress. They are, in fact, sluts for it, while the more relaxed among us remain, you might say, unduressed.
Take a lascivious eye-swipe at the following passage from Frank Romano’s letter linked above:
I JUST READ another article on this bike-lane baloney – and I’ve had it with the politicians in this city afraid to say to these single, no-kid hipsters that bike lanes just don’t fit on our streets.
Sorry, Philly just wasn’t designed for them.
Of course, Mr Romano is entirely right. Philadelphia’s inner city was probably not designed exclusively for bicycles, as Pennsylvania was first conceived in the 1680s and the first bicycle did not start rolling around until the early 1800s. The city was surely designed, from a transit perspective, to favor the horse. The automobile wasn’t invented until the late 1700’s, and wasn’t widespread until the late 19th century. As Henry Ford is famously quoted as saying, “LOL CARS!!!”
I admit, I get annoyed when I see cars in a bike lane. I want to say to them “Hey, that is our area!”, but if I think hard about it, I wonder if I am right to think that. After all, shouldn’t there just be one area called a “lane” where “traffic” goes?
In fact, I have considered making a web site where people can upload photos of cars parked in bike lanes in an effort to shame the offenders, but someone already did exactly that. This works out well for me because it means that I don’t have to sort out the dicey moral landscape of enabling a lot of what amounts to petty bitching, and that I don’t have to get off my ass and put the thing together in the first place. That’s what I call win/win, people.
All I’m saying is, as cool as it is to see a place on the street that is made just for me, I think it would be even cooler if people like Frank Romano and I could come together as citizens of the universe and understand each other. Perhaps it is too much to hope for, but we must be bold, friends, and press on like only the most earnest sluts can!