Yield to Life
In the past month, two Tour de France "stars" have come out publicly in favour of bike commuting. Lance Armstrong has decided that cycling with traffic is too dangerous for the average cyclist and the answer to making the bike more prevalent in North American society is to give it it's own place -- the bike lane.
Dave Zabriskie on the other hand is of the belief that bikes belong on the road but that we need some sort of societal shift that sees vehicle drivers yielding to other more vulnerable road users.
Which side is right?
I have bike commuted for well over 20 years now. For most of those years I can't remember thinking that I would rather be in a bike lane. Over the past few years I must admit I have had pangs of wishing I was a bit more separated from traffic. Are bike lanes the answer?
In North Vancouver City there seems to be a push for bike lanes. In North Vancouver District there is a campaign for "sharing the road". I am not going to step into the "which is better" battle that I won't be able to win, but I must admit there are times when it is nice to be a bit separated from traffic. Having said that though there are times when I have been in a bike lane and thought, "I'm going to get a flat at any moment" simply because they are never very clean or well maintained.
So what is the answer? Armstrong or Zabriskie? For the Armstrong camp to win we just need to throw money at them. Money pays for bike lanes and keeps cyclists out of the way of drivers. I'm sure most motorists would love this. They can maintain their "I'm more important than you" attitude that seems entrenched in our society.
For the Zabriskie camp to prevail it is going to take a major change in North American society. North Americans are not ones to sit back and yield. We are taught at a very young age that we must win or get ahead at any cost. This is all too evident on our roads and highways. There is little or no "good will" to others. This is what the Zabriskie camp is up against. The me first North American attitude. This will be difficult to change. I'm with you Dave. Let's Yield to Life