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Simon
Simon

Watch: The dangers of only riding in the bike lane in a car-centric world

Meet Casey Neistat, a male bicyclist in New York, who got fined $50 for not riding in the bike lane by a police officer. Casey tried to convince the officer that many times it was more safe to ride on the road instead of the bike lane but the officer didn't care. So Casey decided to make a point about the NYPD ticketing bicyclists and show what could happen if you only ride in the bike lane. Despite the numerous objects blocking the bike lane Casey keeps on riding in the bike lane only. And as a result he ends up crashing into various piles of construction equipments, boxes, cars and even a police car. You can watch the video below. The video starts with his conversation with the police officer. The actual crashing starts about a minute in.

You may laugh at him and his video, just like I did. But being a bicyclist, or even a pedestrian, in a car-centric world is dangerous and could easily get you killed. For example. In the UK cyclists made up only 0.5% of the total traffic but accounted for 5% of the entire number of road deaths and 11% of the serious injuries during 2009. The report, done by the road safety charity Brake, also concluded that "while road casualties overall had decreased, cyclist deaths and injuries had not".

And a recently released report shows that between 2000 and 2009 more than 47000 pedestrians were killed in the USA. The study also shows that more than 668000 other pedestrians were injured because of accidents.

"The Transportation for America report asserts that transportation agencies across the country continue to design infrastructure with only vehicle traffic in mind. “It's a serious problem that doesn't get a lot of attention,” said Michelle Ernst, who wrote the report.

Most pedestrian deaths occur on “arterial” roadways, designed for traffic without sidewalks or bike lanes to accommodate walkers or cyclists, the report said."

But luckily there are cities where they have bicycles and pedestrians in mind when they design their streets and transportation systems.

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Do I know how this guy feels. I cycle into work quite a bit and it can be nerve wracking sometimes. Assuming the cycle lane isn't full of parked cars (as it usually will be) I find its often necessary to cycle defensively, for example giving a good 4-6ft of clearance around any parked vehicle as drivers are prone to open doors without looking (even if they're just after overtaking you before parking up). I've become accustomed to the droning sound of a taxi's diesel engine as I'm convinced that they and bus drivers need to runover a certain quota of cyclists per year in order to keep their license. Often I find its necessary to cycle in the middle of the carriageway to stop them overtaking as they'll get obsurdly close to you (either that or need to fit Boddica's to my bike like in Ben Hur). And the attiude of police is hardly better. I was once stopped by the cops for cycling on the pavement. I had to point out to them that actually the pavement was the designated cycle lane (there were a few signs up but hidden by leaves). I presume the guy who came up with that never cycles. Of course I've several times seen people do illegal turnabouts and U-turns in full view of the cops and not a word been said to them. And Pedestrians can be as big a problem as motorists. Numerous times I've had pedestrians look both ways before crossing the road, and I mean look at me and then step right in front of me! I find a bell is a good idea and if you see a kid even think of crossing the road strart braking! I've come with a whisker of running over some wee scally wag....twice! I'm going to have to go out with Reclaim the streets sometime!

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