Friday, June 24, 2011

Bike Lane Reality with Humor, and the Bicycle Culture Clash

Casey Neistat has posted a video on YouTube prompted by his experience of getting a ticket in New York city for not using the bicycle lane, and knowing the obvious reality that bike lanes are not always actually practical and usable for the bicycle rider.  This is a very funny and amazingly reckless movie, and I can't decide if I should cringe or laugh.  Of course I remember doing similar stunts as a kid, and Mr. Neistat makes a very good point.

I admire the efforts planers have made trying to improve bicycle riding options, but many regular bicycle commuters will continue to see the problems and challenges with bicycle lanes: they can't always solve the systemic problems of trying to blend auto and human powered modes of conveyance, they can't satisfy everyone's preference for a perfect route, they can't change the cultural and physical dominance of the automobile, they get pre-empted by abutments and structures and all the examples that Mr. Neistat so amazingly points out.

Nick Miller writing for the Sydney Morning Herald says "They'er calling it the Bike War of 2011."

I hope there is not, indeed, a culture war, but these popular discussions my be a sign of a good thing, that things are improving for pedestrians and bicycles, even if there may not be easy and universally satisfying answers to these transportation planning and usage challenges.

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