Sample Essay

This essay talks about bike lanes.

The case was indeed a wake-up call for the rising tensions between the two communities, and called for an increase in safety measures for the bikers such as bike lanes or stringent laws against fellow motorists on the same road. Such measures would be required if, for example, there was no evidence of progress at all. Bike crashes have shown a steady decline over the years, even though there is an increasing influx of cyclists. In Marin County alone, biker population has increased by 66% where as crashes have declined 34% between 1998 and 2008 (Aschwanden). Official figures suggest that there was a 6% decline in total cyclist deaths (716 to be exact) in the U.S in 2008 when compared to the same in 1998 (Aschwanden). This suggests progress, albeit a bit limited. The real cause of concern is the severity of injuries resulting from these crashes.

“A study at Rocky Mountain Regional Trauma Center in Colorado measured a threefold increase in the number of abdominal injuries and a 15% rise in the number of chest injuries of cyclists over the last 11 years” (Aschwanden). The recommended solution for that are separate bike lanes, and even a full fledge expanded bikeway system, as pointed by Tim Blumenthal, director of an advocacy group for bikers called Bikes Belong. However, this alienates the cyclists from the motorists, which is suggestive of a pattern of hostility between the two in the future which might result in more accidents, according to Forester, who coined the vehicular cycling movement. The bike lanes in question may start posing as door lanes for parked cars and thus may pose a threat to oncoming cyclists (Aschwanden).

It should be noted, however, that the cyclist community itself is particularly pleased with the bike lane strategy and wants to actively pursue it. Hence, when the bike lane was removed from Williamsburg, Brooklyn, the cyclists in question decided to protest against it, dubbing it a Freedom Ride (Dobnik). It seems as if the short term solution does advocate a system that isolates the cyclist from the driver, so that there is less interaction and consequently less chance of an accident. But this cannot be a permanent long term solution, as isolating the two means removing the expectation of the drivers of being wary of oncoming cyclists ahead of the curb. What a driver does not expect, he will not foresee, and as Forester suggests, is a bigger concern than any.

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