I actually know of some folks personally who made the switch to riding in traffic when the city starting putting in bike lanes and sharrows and “share the road” signs. This made me feel great. Folks want to ride, and it felt like Baltimore City wanted us to. I still feel this way. The hard work of folks like Nate Evans and Barry/Baltimore Spokes makes cycling safer and more attractive all the time. Even with gas prices that are lower than the fortune that filling up your SUV cost last summer, the number of cyclists using bikes as transportation increases constantly. The last time I road home from work (April 7th, pre-crash, when it wasn’t all that warm/springy yet), there was considerable bike traffic on the JFT. It was beautiful. I still see dozens of souls pedaling up Charles Street in the five minutes or less I’m at Penn Station waiting for the #61 to go home in the afternoon. Even in the really soupy weather we’ve been having lately. That I can’t join them hurts more than my slowly-healing injuries.
But of course there are foes and obstacles and fear-folks. Anyone who rides in this city knows that. Cab drivers honk at you around the train station because you’re slowing them down from getting another fare from those two MARC trains that just came in. Door prizes offered daily. Contractors on Charles Street who leave their mess around Station North. Students who don’t look out for buses, let alone cyclists. Drivers who seem like they want to see how close they can get without actually hitting you. Some few show-off cyclists who feel nothing for almost causing a crash with you. These aren’t things we can just fix without time and cooperation between all parties involved. Of course.
But it seems like simple, clear-cut things like bike lanes should be easier to enforce. Across the street from me RIGHT NOW, a moving truck has been blocking the bike lane, a lane of traffic and a whole row of parking spots (THAT HE COULD BE PARKED IN!!!!) for over two hours. I asked them to move from my window nicely. Again not so nicely. Then I did the 311 thing. Told them so (third message), to give them a chance and to alleviate my conscience in case someone gets a ticket or gets fired (though while I’d feel badly about someone paying for their own actions is a good question). I see families use this lane on weekends. What if a child was hurt because of these guys? Or an emergency vehicle stopped? They’re even blocking people’s trash pick-up! This drives me nuts. I’m contacting the company, since it’s been two hours since 311, with no “officer dispatched immediately”.
Keep track of Baltimore bike lane asshats in My Bike Lane — and submit your own!