As a cyclist, I can tell you that few things are more frightening than a car zipping by six-inches from your elbow while you're riding on the shoulder. And many drivers of my acquaintance have told me that passing or even just seeing a cyclist on the road makes them quite nervous behind the wheel.
The number of commuters who ride bicycles to get to work and run errands are increasing and I doubt that will change any time soon, thanks to rising gas prices, etc. However, cars and trucks still outnumber bicycles on the road by a large margin; and some drivers don't like sharing the road. So, a bike lane sounds like the perfect solution, doesn't it? Drivers are able to pass cyclists with relative ease and cyclists have a lane where cars aren't allowed, therefore they can worry a little less about being hit. Great, right? Apparently, not.
New York Times: Bike Lanes' Growth in New York Brings Backlash
"And yet, I am unmoved." Now, I don't live on an island where there's finite space for everything and I've never had the pleasure of visiting New York City. From what I can gather, drivers are angry over losing a driving lane and parking spots. I'm also thinking that they feel threatened that with the growth of bike lanes, cyclists are somehow going to squeeze them out and make it harder for them to drive their cars.
True, there's one less lane for cars, cry me a river. Cars still get the majority of the road and an automobile still outweighs a cyclist by a few tons. Driving is a privilege, not a right; and if you can't deal with a repainting of lanes, perhaps you should consider changing your driving routes. It's hard to have sympathy for angry drivers who seem to think a cyclist don't deserve the same rights and considerations on the road as a car.
Until next time, ride long and keep the rubber-side down.