Portland Maine Bicycle Commuting Message Board Bicycle Driving › We don't need bike lanes

We don't need bike lanes

John B.
Westbrook, ME
Post #: 1,451
If you are on Facebook and agree with this sentiment, please give it a like!

We are bicyclists who don't need bike lanes. Some of us don't want them, others merely don't need them. We don't say this to boast, simply as a statement of fact. We have some degree of confidence, but we are not all young, male, athletic, fast, haughty, or fearless. We defy the popular stereotype that you must be all these things to bicycle safely in traffic without your own designated space. We simply want to ride our bikes wherever we need to, right now, without requiring special structures to be built or painted for us. We are traffic, and we ride as lawful drivers. We are your co-workers, friends, and family. We are you. Please join us!

A former member
Post #: 650
I added this on Facebook. Interesting that it contradicts most of the studies that I have seen regarding pollution (auto verses bicycle). Eco Velo.
John B.
Westbrook, ME
Post #: 1,459
Quoting the short article to make it easier for people:
A study conducted by researchers at the transport research institute at Hasselt University in Belgium, found that bicyclists inhale five times as many toxic nanoparticles as drivers and pedestrians on the same streets. Proximity to tailpipe pollution as well as higher respiratory rates account for the higher particle intake. This is the first time both respiration and particle quantity were simultaneously measured in a study of this kind.

This is obviously bad news for bike commuters who currently ride in heavy traffic. The knee-jerk reaction would be to say that bicyclists should ride less. Of course, we know that many of the most deadly diseases are closely linked to a sedentary lifestyle, so riding less has its own dangerous side effects. Better solutions include more separated facilities to enable bicyclists to put together commutes that bypass major arterials and heavy automobile

I'm not familiar with other studies, so I don't know what to believe scientifically. It would seem to make sense that truly separated facilities, like paths, are probably better. It's also a good idea, as suggested in the comments, to not push yourself so hard that you're huffing and puffing.

One thing I don't see in my experience is that it makes much difference if you take your place in line at stop lights or not. I hear people say occasionally that one of the reasons they pass stopped cars and head to the front of the line every time is the exhaust. In my experience, if you stop at least 8-10' behind the car in front of you, 9 times out of 10 I don't notice anything obnoxious either stopped or once we start going. Often the breeze is even blowing to exhaust off to the side. If I get noxious fumes, it's likely more because the vehicle is just not tuned up well than due to my position. Also, breathing through your nose instead of your mouth helps. I don't buy the exhaust argument for not taking your place in line. I think the safety of taking your place in line, and the setting a good example as a law-abiding bicyclists, more than offsets any minor exhaust fumes, which again I hardly ever notice. But then, Portland is not a big city with big city smog either.
user 5414356
Brunswick, ME
Post #: 174
In my experience, the closed cabin of an automobile concentrates pollution much more than the open air around a bicycle. When I'm on my bike I never notice any smells linger for minutes the way a dead skunk or a good dose of diesel exhaust does in a car.
A former member
Post #: 57
I think the safety of taking your place in line, and the setting a good example as a law-abiding bicyclists, more than offsets any minor exhaust fumes

Not to mention the double standard of asking for “3 feet please” when cars are passing me, then passing them by inches, on the right at red lights.
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