The Philosophy Behind Riding a Bike

Faculty

Believe it or not, there are philosophies about bike-riding. Associate Professor Jonathan Maskit recently shared his at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History.

In a discussion about sharing roadways with both bikes and cars, an article in Green City Blue Lake blog noted that Maskit shared that roadways are a public space, owned by us communally.

“Yet most state laws governing bikes tell cyclists to move as far right as possible. Ohio has improved recently with designating 3 feet of space around cyclists when cars overtake them.”He also knows what to advocate for to bring about mode balance.

Though Maskit takes the lane, he makes a strong case for barrier-separated bike lanes. Biking in countries like the Netherlands and Germany means being assured that drivers have been trained on how to look out for you. It also means having separated bike-only lanes.

‘The solution is segregation,’ he says. ‘It would make cyclists and motorists happy. I think motorists have an interest in paying more taxes to have a separate infrastructure.’

Cyclist need this space because they are slower moving vehicles and are too fast to mix with pedestrians on sidewalks. It is one of the structural deficiencies that lead to anger between drivers and cyclists.

‘Most cyclists are aware of being treated like second-class citizens,’ he said.

Back to the Netherlands, Maskit applauds their foresight in the 1970s when the price of oil skyrocketed and they made a decision to tax each citizen $10 a year to pay for separated bike lanes.

‘It worked. The Dutch were not cyclists. They are now,’ he said about the shift from few to 40% of their population riding bikes.”

Posted Date 
Tuesday, March 6, 2018

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