2011-10-13 / Editorials

Bike lanes: Too much of a good thing?

Looking at Lynn Road, the Avenida de Los Arboles restriping project and the proposed Wendy Drive bridge expansion, bike lanes seem to be all the craze in Thousand Oaks.

Because of government grants aimed at decreasing air pollution and getting cars off our crowded roadways, municipalities like T.O. are seeing more opportunities than ever to add cyclistfriendly features at little or no cost to their general funds.

Are all these new bike lanes a good thing? Common sense and most research says yes, at least when it comes to increasing safety and ridership—the two main goals of bike lanes.

Separated and defined lanes encourage cyclists to ride with the flow of traffic and stay off sidewalks. They also remind drivers to be aware of the presence of bicyclists and they reduce the chance that a motorist will stray into the path of an unfortunate rider.

But some critics see the indiscriminate creation of bike lanes as increasing the likelihood of an accident by encouraging cyclists to ride next to traffic on fast-moving streets rather than off-road or in more residential areas.

There are studies that support this opinion as well.

We think the key here is for the city to create bike lanes in moderation—where they’re really needed—not on every stretch of road that becomes available or every time funding is offered.

Similar to solar panels, bike lanes look great on paper and are popular among politicians looking to add “environmentally conscious” to their resume, but in practice they aren’t always the best option. For solar, the problem is often cost; for bike lanes, it’s the stress they cause drivers.

Politically correct or not, some residents think there is such a thing as too many bike lanes, and why should their opinions matter less than the cyclists who support them?

While we think it’s critical to promote safety on our roadways and to encourage more people to get out their cars, we hope the city will consider both sides of the argument and create bike lanes on a case-by-case basis.

Let us know how you feel about all the new bikes lanes being striped in Thousand Oaks. Send a letter to the editor to the address in the box below or email us at tonewstip@theacorn.com.

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