Taken from The David Boze Show.
This report is driving me crazy: The Seattle Department of Transportation has banned right turns from Dexter Avenue South to West Mercer Street because of a couple of accidents involving bicycles and cars.
Part of the point of changing this intersection, they say, is to move traffic more efficiently. Instead, they’re hindering traffic already in the midst of a chokepoint.
I really don’t mind sharing the road with bicycles. We’re constantly told to share the road and I know I complain about bicycles a lot, but as long as they’re following certain, polite behaviors, I’m fine with giving them space.
For instance, when a guy is slowly climbing up a hill and there’s no place else for him to go, that really doesn’t bother me so much. It’s when there is plenty of room and a bicyclist decides to hug the middle of the lane so that no one can get by them – that bugs me.
I’ve noticed it most prominently in Seattle, but it also happens elsewhere, that if I’m trying to make a right turn, cyclists have a similar habit of pretending that the car does not exist. They assume that you see them even when you get up to the front of the intersection and there is no one there to the immediate right of you. You look right, you look left, and you get ready to turn and suddenly the cyclist has zoomed up right next to you.
You narrowly avoid running them over and then they give you the evil glance.
It’s just about awareness, for bicyclists as well as for drivers. But the city is shutting down a way of moving traffic in an area like the Mercer Mess, which already has various traffic problems.
Instead, the city should find a better way or place for bicyclists to stop, like a line behind where the first car stops that would allow a car to make a free right turn. The car behind that first vehicle has the opportunity to see the cyclists in line next to them as traffic gets moving again.
We can’t just shut down the cars and act like that’s a great thing. I know some cyclists will point to this as a major victory for bike safety and for fighting traffic congestion, thinking this keeps people really moving.
But it’s not. It does diddlysquat for the people driving these roads.
This makes me almost wish I lived in the City of Seattle. If I did, I’d try to get a petition going to charge for bike tabs in Seattle in order to pay for bike lane changes. ATVs and trailers have to have pay for licenses and tabs, why not bicycles?
Then, like a car tab, we could put it on the back of a mandatory bike helmet.
Think about how much gas tax we pay and how much these bike lane changes cost. Now, it’s not like there’s wear and tear on the road and I grant that to them, so I’d give them a break in the cost of a tab there. But bike lanes are expensive, and they’re sucking up a lot of road that cars are already paying for. So I wouldn’t give you a break for that portion of the fee.
If we’re going to start eliminating cars and the ability to make turns, all I’m saying is that there are other solutions that would make traffic move better. But if bicyclists aren’t willing to share the road – well, it’s time for bicyclists to pay a lot more.
Taken from The David Boze Show.