In an event loosely inspired by Critical Mass, cyclists in Cedar Rapids, Iowa rode the city’s first “Bike Lane Friday” on March 28th.
Over two dozen cyclists, most members of local bike clubs, rode on four-lane arterial roads, occupying the entire right-hand lane. The purpose of the ride was to make the point that cyclists, whether riding singly or in groups, are entitled to the full width of a traffic lane, and motorists should move into the other lane when passing, rather than trying to squeeze by within the same lane.
The cyclists reported supportive waves and honks during their ride, with only one abusive motorist shouting for them to “get off the road”, a common refrain heard from drivers everywhere.
Comments on the local newspaper’s web site were less encouraging: “Exercise and enjoy bicycling elsewhere – OFF THE MAIN THOROUGHFARES!” and “I hate to see bikes and joggers on main roads like this. We spend millions of dollars on public trails, yet people still feel the need to exercise on main roads.”
Local cyclists are hopeful that Bike Lane Friday becomes a regular monthly tradition, a way to politely celebrate and demonstrate their rights to the road, and an encouragement for potential riders to use their bicycles for both recreation and basic transportation.
That sounds like a worthy goal, and perhaps cyclists in other communities should consider their own versions of Bike Lane Friday, a safe, legal, and less confrontational version of Critical Mass.