Surveying the Weakest Arguments Against Bike Lanes

According to a recent newspaper editorial, "Egged on by the hardcore enthusiasts, New York City is spending lots of money, confiscating lots of lane-miles and basing its transportation policy on a fantasy." Who knew white paint is so threatening?

2 minute read

October 11, 2015, 1:00 PM PDT

By Todd Litman


Emily Kilkelly, writing for the Tri-State Transportation Campaign, looks back at some of the craziest things that have ever been said about bike lanes, including:

  • "You can’t pick up a piece of furniture on your bike. [Bicyclists] can come shop, but you also need to make room for the cars." — Salt Lake City merchant Amy Leininger
  • "The recent appearance of 'bicycle lanes' in the middle of the right lanes of two-lane roads is a naive concession to the bicycle lobby… Give us our roads back." — Robert Rabinowitz, Stamford Advocate letter to the editor
  • "If there's any reason to get all worked up over the 1,000 miles of bike facilities (which includes sharrows and signed 'bicycle routes' as well as bike lanes) on New York City’s 6,000 miles of streets, it’s because there are too few, not too many, bike lanes."
  • "[H]igh streets are reliant on women for business. These cycle lanes are all about men rushing here, there and everywhere." — Helen Osman, failed Enfield, UK Council candidate
  • "I can’t support bike lanes… What I compare bike lanes to is swimming with the sharks. Sooner or later, you’re going to get bitten. And every year we have dozens of people that get hit by cars or trucks. Well, no wonder. Roads are built for buses, cars and trucks–not for people on bikes. My heart bleeds for them when I hear someone gets killed, but it’s their own fault at the end of the day." — Former Toronto Mayor Rob Ford
Kilkelly also provides a pithy response to each of these arguments, and the others listed in the article.

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