Consider Biking is once again calling upon people to show up at several meetings to support the installation of bike lanes in the Hilltop neighborhood along West Broad Street in Columbus.
And, once again, I'm going to come out against this - but with a slightly less fervent attitude than I did before, which I'll explain.
I still think that bike lanes are unnecessary and even dangerous for the very cyclists they attempt to attract. I still think that the city's efforts should be more on enforcement and education than on engineering - that is, they should be telling people how bicyclists on the streets have the rights that the law already gives them (and that has been defended properly in a court of law), as well as ticketing people for violations of ALL traffic violations to make the streets safer for everyone.
But... what I am in favor of is the idea of a road diet on West Broad. That is, making the pedestrian space larger and the car space smaller, removing some car lanes in favor of pedestrian areas, and altogether slowing down traffic in that area to make is safer and more friendly for the entire area.
Bike lanes are a way for politicians and advocates to show off their support of cycling. They're a tangible output that everyone sees. And, as we've pointed out before, on the surface they seem like a great idea. Same with sharrows, more bike paths, etc.
But the practical side of them is that they create road-user segregation and the idea that they're designed to keep cyclists out of everyone else's way - and that goes against the idea of Complete Streets. And they're more dangerous than simply taking the lane on a street.
Taking measures to slow down traffic across the board, though, is a great safety measure for all road users - pedestrians, cyclists, transit users, and motorists. Slower traffic means safer traffic. A road diet would be welcome for everyone - bike lanes just divide us.
People, not speed.