You know we don’t often find ourselves watching local news, when we do, it usually isn’t Fox News, but any coverage about bike lanes are good…. right?
A few days ago Fox News reporter Tom Lyden did a little story about some of the new bike lanes and street markings that have gone up around Minneapolis in the last year. After watching this report, a few times, we find ourselves disappointed that a real opportunity for education was instead turned into a story whose general theme is; there is massive confusion, nobody including bikers knows what is happening!!!
Having said all of that, Fox 9 dedicated almost 4 whole minutes to this topic, which counts as a feature, so based on this we are going to spend the next two days trying to pick apart the story a little bit, give credit where credit is due, and call them out where it is necessary. Please feel free to chime in down in the comments section, if you think we are being to harsh, not harsh enough or are just plain wrong, we want to hear it.
– Coverage from the drivers point of view; Many of the shots that are used in this video are taken from the hood of the car looking down. While we have no problem with the fact that they have decided to cover this from a cars perspective, the city has spent a lot of time and money putting up signage next to the lanes which tells driver and cyclists exactly what they are supposed to be doing.
– “The problem is there’s no real consistency”; You know, to a certain extend this is true, to the city’s credit, it is trying out a number of different things, in an attempt to find out what works best. While there are plenty of resources for types of bike lanes and boulevards, there is not a single way that works best in every area. The green lanes on campus are an example of this, they come as a response to an intersection that was dangerous and not working, the way it was set up. The city is trying something else in order to call attention to the area, possibly the green lanes won’t work and something else will need to happen, but we won’t know without trying.
– “This right here is just a mess… you know given Minneapolis’ status as a premier bike city this may just be a sample of what’s to come.” Just because you don’t understand it, doesn’t mean that it is a mess. Do you think that when the yield sign was first introduced, everyone intuitively knew what it meant and how to use it? No, it takes time, and eduction.
Well, as we mentioned before, there is so much more to talk about that we are going to spill over into tomorrow, but we want to end on a positive note. For the gallon of criticism heaped on in the story there is an ounce of positive reporting; when referring to the Hennepin Ave. green lanes downtown, Tom states that according to reports, these lanes have led to “increased ridership and reduced accidents”. Shortly after that they show some video of what appears to be a bike incorrectly using the lanes while bickering with and impeding a car on those same lanes (see picture).
Be sure to come back tomorrow for part II, when we talk about “biker confusion” as reported in the video, tackle some more of the hard-hitting facts and show you Jeff Passolt in a bowtie, won’t that be fun?