Sunday, March 14, 2010

Close encounters in the new bike lane

Today I went for my first ride in the "Ciclovía Norte", the bike lane that connects Retiro and Plaza Italia recently inaugurated by the city government. There were a few bikes and dozens of people walking or jogging in it. Even when they have a sidewalk just for them, the pedestrians decided to walk on the bike lane, I don't know if because they thought that it was made for them or because it was new and they felt that they had to try it. I didn't mind to share the path so I cycled slowly and tried to enjoy the ride. But two minutes later, when I was passing a little girl riding a children's bike (of course, I had to ride over the opposite lane to do it) a jogger run into me. He could have avoided me, but I think he expected me to get off the bike path (or to run over the little girl, I don´t know) to let him through. "YOU ARE RIDING ON THE WRONG SIDE!" he shouted, to which I reply that I was passing another bike and that HE was jogging on a path that was only for bikes. "SAYS WHO?" he shouted again in typical arrogant porteño manner. I couldn't see any signs around so I had to repeat myself: "This is a bike path, it's only for bikes. YOU could have very easily avoided me just by moving one step to your right". Again, he stressed his point: "Why? YOU were riding on the wrong lane". "I was passing another bike, that's the only way to do it". Perhaps he too thought that the dialog was getting repetitive so he move onto his final argument: "You are an idiot", he said. I felt the adrenaline pumping into my veins and replied: "No, YOU are a fucking asshole!" I guess he sensed that I was very willing to get into a more serious fight so he turned around and began to jog, again over the bike path. Since I got the last word, I felt that I had "won," even if I´m not sure exactly what. But this feeling helped me to relax faster. A few seconds later I saw the sign that I was looking for but I couldn't figure it out. Was that fucking jogger right? Am I an idiot? (This is a rhetorical question, dear reader) What does this sign mean to you? If it means that people and bikes must share the lane it kind of misses the point of having a bike lane, more so when you have a sidewalk just a few meters away.




Liina said...

This means that the right side of the road is for bicycles and left side for people on foot. This is very common in here, Estonia, but I always have to fight for my rights too... walkers usually use bothe sides of the road.

But this road is too narrow for that!

Hernan said...

Yes, that´s exactly what i thought: right (bike line) for bikes, left (sidewalk) for walkers. But in some parts there is no sidewalk, just the bike lane. So I think it's confusing and it will lead to more fights. Specially here, where the people always think that they have a right to everything and no obligations at all!

South County Ciclista said...

Locally we have a bike lane like the one you pictured. Shortly after its construction it was modified to have 3 lanes. 1 for walking and 2 for bikes. It is much safer now. Before it always seemed there were way too many collisions with just the 2 lanes. Maybe if your path gets enough use they will see a need to modify it as well.

Hernán said...

Yes, SC Ciclista, now is more difficult to ride on the bike lane than on the sidewalk! But I doubt that the government will modify a recently inaugurated project. Thanks for your comment

Anonymous said...

Fuck pedestrians. Viva la bike!