Are Bicycles A Burden To Cities?

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Well, I wonder how many of us feel that way? As with everything else, there are the forces that fight against any new social ideas that come up. There are people who feel that catering to the bicycle community has become more of a pain than expected. Are bicycles a burden to cities or is this a stab at bureaucracy.

Let us take a look at some of the things being put on the plans that some cities have deemed to be good for the environment and society as a whole. When this is done we would love for all to share their opinion on a subject that seems so good but marked so bad.

Many State Legislatures Support Cycling Infrastructures

There are some cities here in the US who have started adding the biking community in on their building plans around their cities. I wrote a post a few months back explaining why some cities are not having a problem with implementing paths and lanes for their cyclist.

I discussed how adding bike lanes increased travel time, helped economically and environmentally. If a city is concerned with the health of its citizens this is another positive factor because cycling promotes good health. The City of Chicago and New York have shown their love for their cycling community.



Opposing Reasons Against The Cycling Infrastructure

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I ran into an article written by a gentleman named Lawrence Solomon that raised quite a few issues with accommodating the cycling community. I am not at all mad at him because everyone has their opinion. But I also thought I should bring it to others attention to let them judge for themselves.

When bike lanes are built they utilize a portion of the existing roadway. I would think that these engineers know what they are doing and took every measurement and statistic into consideration while doing so. But according to some people cyclist have taken more than they are giving.

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One weapon against the cycling idea is that when it comes to taking care of the roads cyclist don’t pay any taxes to help out with repairs. All I have to say to that is that a bike tax is on the table with some States already. As a cyclist, I have no problem with that if it has to be done.

While most of us would say it is healthy to ride a bike the opposition will say that it is actually not healthy because when you ride amongst cars you are breathing in carbon exhaust more so than someone who is walking. Well, interesting because one less car off the road reduces it for even the walkers on the sidewalks.

Another thing used against the cyclist is that bikes are making traffic worse than it was without them. I thought the bike lanes made it better because of separation. When these lanes are made the cars are thought about as well. I think it becomes more of a get out of my way attitude for the automobile driver.

When sharing the road with one another it only takes courtesy on both ends. The cyclist and the car driver can make it very pleasant to share the roads with respect for one another and the laws.

Other Issues With Cycling Amongst Cars
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It is also said that the bicycle infrastructure is hurting businesses because the lanes are taking up customer parking spaces causing more area of the city that can be businesses to be turned into parking lots.

Not only that, fatalities are being put into the equation with cycling fatalities being much higher than automobile fatalities. Well, is that not one of the reasons for bike lanes?

So I guess what we thought was a great idea for our health, environment and family leisure was just a pipe dream that just doesn’t make any sense. These thoughts against the cycling infrastructure say it hurts more than help. It has caused a couple of cities in the UK and one in Australia to ban bikes in certain areas.

What Do You Think?

I am glad you took the time out to read this post. I think it is only fair to know each side of an equation. And let the person decide for themselves on any issue. So take the time out to respond to the poll and let us come up with our own results on the subject.

[poll id=”3″]


Thank you for stopping in and I hope you enjoyed the article and please leave any questions or comments in the comments section below.

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14 thoughts on “Are Bicycles A Burden To Cities?

  1. Hi Ronnie,

    Good and diverse viewpoints regarding if bikes are burdens to cities.

    I use to work in Dublin and cycled to work. It was like ten miles so I zipped through some of the thickest traffic anywhere! Exciting and quite dangerous.

    However, Dublin city has bicycle lanes that are shared by the bus lanes.

    These lanes really do help to keep you safe but when they fade out you must merge with traffic again or jump up on those huge paths in places.

    I answered no to your questionnaire as I think it is a matter of tolerance and watching out for each other on the roads.



    • Thank you for leaving your vote. And I 100% agree with you on the fact that it all boils down to respecting each others space out there and noticing what is around you. I have been riding in traffic without lanes and I just learned how to ride amongst the traffic with great respect for the automobiles. Not only is it a good thing it is just plain smart because my bike can’t compete with the mass of a car.

      So when I ride like I got some sense amongst them they tend to give me some respect as well. This includes obeying the rules of the road down to having bike lighting so the car driver can notice me. Wow, I am caught by bikes sharing the lane with buses.

  2. This is a great post. I personally think they are a hazard, only because some people drive on the road like they think they are a car. It slows traffic down, and people tend to overcorrect and get into someone’s lane. I think a lot of bike drivers could actually ride on a sidewalk, and they would be much safer at the same time. What do you think?

    • Yes, that is true for some riders. I have seen some do that and the sun has gone down and they don’t even have the proper lighting. The thing about bike lanes is that they will separate the bike riders from the car drivers. This will help keep the automobiles where they can hold a travel pace without being interrupted by the cyclist.

      This is all a new concept and it will take some time for cars and bikes to efficiently accomplish the intent of the idea. But both have to be prepared to respect one another on the roads and follow all laws accordingly. Cars know their laws and Cyclist should follow their laws of the road.

      I think that forcing bicycles on the sidewalks are going to cause major problems for walking pedestrians. So to me, the happy medium is bike lanes to separate all parties.

  3. Interesting article, Ron. I live in Singapore, and there is a growing cycling community here. But I do see some concerns other than those you have raised. Especially for the neighborhoods. I have nothing against cycling or cyclists. But the past year I have noticed these concerns.

    In Singapore, there are housing estates outside of the city. I live in one of them. And I live in one of those that have more aging people. My Mom is one of the elderly here. It is becoming scary to them as cyclists cruise at high speeds along pedestrian paths and even walkways under buildings.

    My concern is that accidents can happen. Elderly cannot react fast. And when a cyclist is not conscious or conscientious enough to cycle slower and with care in these estates, there are those in our society that may be in danger.

    I have personally seen once a group of cyclists rides at top speed down a pedestrian path. If I had not stopped my Mom from stepping onto the path, I dare not think of what could have happened.

    The other concern is for the children. There are many childcare centers in the area where I stay. They can be in danger too.

    While I appreciate cyclists and their choice. I do hope there can be a solution that can be good for all.

    • A very good issue to raise. I wrote an earlier post (click here) that was about respecting one another on the roads and this should apply to this situation. It is a shame that there is always those who can turn a good situation into something bad. Maybe there is a need for signs along these paths to help people to have a conscious about what they are doing.

      A path that is in a neighborhood or public place such as parks should never be used for a large group of riders doing their speed thing. I am sorry that there is cyclist where you are that is so careless and thoughtless towards the next person. So cyclist please feel this concern for it makes a lot of sense.

  4. Bicycles are much environmental friendly, does not throw toxic gases in the air like cars are doing. So more bicycles and fewer cars are good for every city. Also driving bicycle requires effort from the driver and will benefit him like doing exercises. So there is no excuse or reason why not to put bicycles lanes on the road.

    • That is how I feel about it too. There are some people who feel that the cycling community is taking to much from the automobile drivers and not putting in such as taxes and so forth. But you have to think about how it is helping the environment and making the world a much healthier place at the same time. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  5. Thank you for writing this article! I love that you put the opposing reasons as well as the positive. It tells me that you are thinking of both sides, and not just forcing your agenda. That’s great! We have found it to be much better when the bikes have their own path, rather than joining in the car traffic. Though I live in rural Montana, so it’s not a huge issue here. But…we do go to the big city often, and we always notice the bike traffic!

  6. This is a really interesting post. I personally believe that bicycles are not a burden to cities. To me, they are not any different than automobiles. I think it would be much safer to have lanes specifically dedicated to bicyclists without merging to the rest of the car traffic to help avoid accidents.

    I love biking, unfortunately, the place I live does not have the bicycle lane, and fortunately, it has sidewalks. So I can still ride my bicycle on the sidewalk and stay much safer than ride along with cars. Thank you for the views on both sides.

    • You are very welcome. We all have our opinions on everything and I thought was a great topic to discuss since it had two perspectives to consider. Where I live we have some lanes but not the routes that I ride. I try to use as many side streets as possible to get where I am going. Sometimes loose dogs deter me from riding through some areas.

      I often run their tongues out of their mouths but it is no fun encountering them because you never know if one will eventually catch you. Thank you for visiting us and commenting.

  7. I think bikes are essential in cities! Cities are very polluted, especially because of the cars. Certain cities even prohibit half of their citizen to take their cars for few days. This only happens during “pollution picks”. Bicycles are a great alternative for everyone. I think many countries understood it already. I have seen through Europe many countries offering public bicycles in the big cities. I think we should all consider using a bicycle, especially for those quick trips we do during the day. Thanks for sharing

    • Thank you for the added knowledge about how other countries have been realized that cycling could be a benefit to any town or city. As the years go by we are constantly breaking down our environment and every little bit we do to slow it down helps.

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