Monday, August 3

Seattle Bike Report

The good:
Lots of bike stores. Except for the California imports, motorists are mostly pretty mellow. Lots more bike racks than North Texas.

The bad:
Connectivity. More hazards from clueless types on bikes. Mandatory helmet laws.

The verdict:
Despite a well-intentioned, but poorly executed bike program, it's still practical to get around most places in the Northwest by bike. You just have to know the local turf if you would rather not deal with the expectation that you'll stay in your little "special" lane. Even Seattle doesn't have enough PC and money to completely escape reality.

Exclusive DFWPTP Interview - with Linda A, a transportational cyclist, encountered in Seattle.
DFWPTP: "What about those bike lanes? Are they any use at all?"
Linda A: "They're a really bad joke."
DFWPTP: "Then why do you ride in them?"
Linda A: "It's pretty hard not to!"
DFWPTP: "Why?"
....and so it went...


Keri said...

yep, and so it goes.

Seattle seems to be competing with Portland for bikeway networks. Most of the push for complete networks of bike lanes has nothing to do with creating access or making things better for actual cyclists. It's about enticing the ignorant to ride bikes. In the process, making things worse for competent cyclists. There are a limited number of roads in those networks were bike lanes are appropriate (or at least relatively harmless), then you get into shoe-horning substandard garbage and DZBLs. The momentum always leads there.

That's not to say some extra space on the road isn't welcome sometimes by competent cyclists. There are times it make things more comfortable. But striping it off doesn't add anything to the value of the space (and often decreases the usability of the space).

Rat Trap Press said...

So, were there lots of people out riding in the 100+ degree heat?

Steve A said...

There seemed to be a lot more bike paint on the road than just a year ago. Little of it seemed to do anything useful. I DID possibly get a "vehicularis" sighting, however so maybe all that paint isn't only wasted. Monkeys & typewriters & Shakespeare & all...

Rat Trap,
By DFW standards, there were a LOT of people riding, despite lurid news stories about heat-related deaths. I don't have a good way to judge how many were out compared to a more normal summer day.

Also, my parents live in North Seattle, roughly three miles north of the University of Washington campus, which distorts things (just as if you hung out around TCU).

I was most impressed by the sheer number of bike shops. If I went back up there, I might abandon my current practice of carrying a pump and spare tube - there were few places where you'd have to walk more than a mile or two to get to a bike shop.

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