Sunday, May 13, 2012

New Green Things on the Wiggle

I was biking on the Wiggle today and saw the new bright green bike "sharrows" (share the road + arrows) they've started painting on the street to point bikers along the zig-zagging route. I'm a big fan of green but I find these a bit gaudy. I do think they guide bikers who aren't familiar with the route, and they're certainly more helpful than the Wiggle PSA that flashes street names MTV-style across the screen (see my previous post).

Not surprisingly, lots of people seem to be upset this new development. My recent experience on the Wiggle is that bikers seem more cautious than ever. They stop at intersections and let cars cross. They take turns slowly. I'm sure there are still idiots on bikes, just as there will always be idiots in cars. I don't think ugly green bike markings on the street make bikers less conscientious or give them a greater sense of entitlement, as some of the comments claim. The arrows seem to be having the opposite effect, as far as I can tell.

I've always thought that adult bikers and drivers should be required to go through some sort of training on how to ride/drive safely and considerately. The content for drivers could be incorporated into driver's ed, and perhaps bikers would have to take the class and get a sticker on their driver's license or ID showing they completed it.

I do think there are a lot of people who get upset every time they see something that might make the city more bike-friendly. The mentality seems to be that if bikers are allowed to become an accepted part of traffic, that it somehow threatens drivers' and pedestrians' right to be on the road. (Who has the sense of entitlement now?). It's similar to the idea that letting gay people get married somehow threatens straight marriages. It's as if some people never learned to share - the road, the community, the institutions of society that are meant to be for everyone.

No comments: