November 15, 2010
For bicycle commuters, there are few experiences more frustrating than having automobiles block your bike lanes, as if people weren't actually trying to use them for transportation. It's downright dangerous–cyclists don't expect large stationary objects to appear in the middle of their right-of-way, and the more absent-minded of us are prone to run into them.For me, I'm not really worried about running into whatever stationary object is blocking the lane. The bigger issue is having to merge into traffic in order to go around it.
(from tvol on Flickr)
When you have a separated bike lane, motorists tend to expect everyone on a bike to stay in that lane. Problem is, when there is a a bus, car or taxi blocking it, there's nowhere to go but around. Unfortunately, there are motorists who get upset that bicyclists have to cut into the driving lane to get around the obstruction, and they take their anger our on that rider, rather than the person who's illegally blocking the bike lane.
I want to believe that someone who double parks knows they're doing something wrong. They know someone is going to be inconvenienced so that they can leave their car in a place where it doesn't belong. But thinking that blocking a bike lane only makes life worse for the bicyclist is too simple. The reality is that it can cause a much larger chain reaction that impacts everyone in traffic.