A reader writes:
I have a problem with this explanation: "most rule-breaking by bicyclists is the result of poor design." I lived in NYC for 20+ years and I'm currently living in San Francisco, and I can tell you the reason for bike problems is that there really are no rules for bicyclists. As a pedestrian I've nearly been killed in NYC by a bike going the wrong way down a one-way street. Or just recently in SF in the SOMA district, I saw a woman nearly hit as a bike sped along the sidewalk around a corner and never slowed down. Bikes are not supposed to be going fast on sidewalks in city, right?
It's not about bike lanes; it's about people thinking they own the streets and sidewalks because they're on a bike.
Don't get me wrong, I'm a bike rider myself, but again, I was nearly knocked down by a speed cyclist around the seaport in Manhattan on my bike. The thing about bike riding is that there are no rules, really, and that's part of the beauty, the freedom. But as they become more prevalent in car traffic and pedestrian traffic, it's really becoming a problem. Like I said, I'm an urban dwelling bike rider myself, and I'm appalled at the bike riding behavior going on.
I live in one of the more bike friendly cities you'll find – Madison, WI. There are designated bike lanes on most major roads, criss-crossing the city. There are even city streets being named "bike boulevards," on which bikes are given equal access to lanes as cars. For a bike commuter like me, it's great. And yet, despite there being no real necessity to be a "road warrior type" to pedal around this city, you still see countless jerks run stop signs, barrel down sidewalks, cut in front of cars, turn in front of traffic without indicating, etc.
Why? Who knows, other than certain cyclists just seem to feel that since they are on a bike, either the rules of the road don't apply them, or they are so morally superior to those driving cars that they are entitled to scoff at those rules. Now, the vast majority of cyclists here are respectful and rule abiding. But, as with drivers, it only takes a minority of bozos to give the non-bozos a bad name.