urban commuting

Reasons why a cyclist might not use a bike lane

I saw a question posted on a news website’s comment section. The poster was curious to know why a cyclist might choose to cycle on the road beside a bike lane instead of using the bike lane. Here are some possibilities:

  • Garbage in the bike lane: broken or rusted car parts, toilet paper rolls, wires, metal, needles, animal carcasses, etc.
  • Too bumpy: the pavement may be buckled or cracked.
  • Too many sewer grates: this doesn’t bode well with road tires.
  • Going too fast: many multi-use paths have a maximum speed of 20km/h. For those training for races, this is too slow and it may put other cyclists at risk.
  • They are a vehicular cyclist and don’t agree with cycling in a segregated lane.
  • They don’t know it’s there.
  • If the path is raised or separated by a barrier, they couldn’t figure out how to get onto it or they were required to stop to do so. 
  • They couldn’t figure out how to get off the path, so they figured it’d be best not to bother at all.
  • They didn’t want to.
  • There may be pedestrians, rollerbladers, joggers, skateboarders, and e-bikes in the lane and they’re not comfortable sharing the space.

Any other additions?


Left at Sign, Right on Track by Carlton Holls
Via Flickr:
This was taken in the atrium of Union Station, which serves all Amtrak intercity trains and most Metra commuter trains in Chicago. Completed in 1925, it spans some ten city blocks, much of it underground, where 24 different tracks approach the station from opposite directions. This last fact could potentially make things confusing … depending on which direction you’re headed, you might have to board from the left track to be on the right track :)