The proposition made by some (see Paul Dorn comment at this link) that breaks us down into vehicular cyclists or paint and path advocates is a false dichotomy (or false dilemma, if you prefer). Sure, lacking cycling specific facilities, we must ride vehicularly. But in that parallel universe, even the best separated cycling facilities in urban areas have to cross intersections sometimes, and cyclists will at some point have to behave as traffic, even if only to avoid crashing into other cyclists. Cyclists, all cyclists, need to know how to ride in traffic, whether they are sharing general-use lanes or whether riding in a separated cycletrack. Intersections are intersections and traffic is traffic.
I recieved a chilling email this morning from a scientific colleague and friend here at LANL who cycles a lot. Joe just got back from some work at Palo Alto and was riding to work in the Canyon bike lane, headed for Diamond Drive. He merged left into the dedicated left turn lane and waited for the left turn green arrow.
Luckily, he checked traffic before he fully committed to the turn. A few seconds after my friend got the green left turn arrow, a motorist on Diamond ran the red light at high speed. If my friend had not looked, he would probably be in bad shape or dead.
Meanwhile, this morning I observed a different cyclist riding on our recently added bike lanes. I first saw him riding on the sidewalk headed south towards Diamond/Arizona. He rode through an unprotected crosswalk without looking for traffic. He then rode diagonally through the Conoco Hill intersection and ran a red. As I closed on him, he ran another red light at Diamond and Trinity so I never did get to talk to him.
In one case, good vehicular cycling skills may well have saved a rider’s life. In another case, the rider is playing with fire and we may eventually read about him in the paper. Both using the same bikelane system.
Let’s stop screwing around with artificial distinctions, and just do good work for cyclists. The reason LAB has an education program is that it takes resources to design, organize, manage, and indemnify and it clearly fits within a mission of serving the best interests of, and keeping cyclists alive out there.