Ergonomic Nightmare of the Week: Bike Lanes

Drivers: What do you do when you see a biker pedaling along ahead of you only a few feet to your right or even in the middle of the lane? First you mutter to yourself, “damn bikers, always in my way.” Then you either creep along behind him, holding up traffic in the process, causing an outbreak of honking behind you, or you speedily swerve around him as you nearly side swipe the car in the lane next to you.

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Bikers: You are riding along, minding your own business, when suddenly the bike lane turns into a 6-inch shoulder of the road covered with rocky debris. What to do you do? You either keep on riding as close to the edge as possible and hope you aren’t run off the road by an SUV, or you get in the middle of the lane so at least the cars will see you. Either way you get honked at and yelled at to “get off the road.” You mutter to yourself, “where the hell else am I supposed to ride, what is it with these people?”

bike lane

Two-ton vehicles barreling along at 35-80 miles per hour only inches away from bikers pedaling along on 20 pound bikes at 5-15 miles an hour is an ergonomic nightmare. Roads were made for cars, not bikes, and many roads only marginally accommodate bikes at all. So what are bikers to do? Many people avoid riding bikes because they are scared to ride next to cars.

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Bikes are the most efficient (energy input to output) form of transportation ever invented. Ergonomically speaking, biking is an ideal way to get from A to B.

A lot more needs to be done to make biking safer so we can all safely enjoy the benefits of bike riding (healthier, better for the environment, cheaper). That’s my stance…what do you think?