Bicycles Have Taken Over Seattle

Bicycle at Sunset
You might think from reading the headline that Seattle has a lot of bicycles. According to a blog I have not heard of, Seattle is, in fact, NUMBER ONE in the U.S.!
Bike lanes are everywhere now. Streets have been retooled to accommodate bicycles, complete with dedicated lanes, islands and other measures to help ensure the safety of bicyclists. Parking spaces in downtown Seattle and elsewhere have been eliminated and replaced with bike racks. The removal of car parking spaces is a drag for motorists since there is not a lot of parking in the first place.
The funny thing is, except in areas around the University of Washington and Burke Gilman Trail (where traditionally there has always been a high volume of bicyclists), often I will see absolutely no bicycles in the bike lanes.
Parking space converted for bicycles.

And all of the bike parking that has been created while displacing car parking? Often it's the same case where they are under utilized.

I hope you don't have the impression that I'm "anti-bike," because I'm not. In fact, I own a bicycle. Um... I haven't ridden it in this decade, though.

In any case, this topic is a source of annoyance for me.
Recently I came across a heated thread in a "NextDoor" blog. You all know about NextDoor, I think? NextDoor positions itself as the "private social network for your neighborhood." It's a neighborhood-by-neighborhood blog where "neighbors" can ask questions, opine, blather, sell stuff, rent property and kvetch. 
People in a certain neighborhood have really been kvetching about bike lanes because one is slated for a certain area near them and they're upset!
Anyhow, I am not hung up on bike lanes. Sure, they can be a pain, but the thing that really bugs me isn't the bike lanes OR bike racks (which seem to be breeding based on how they are proliferating)—it's some of the bicyclists themselves.
The amazing Montlake Bicycle Shop, Seattle
There are a number of bicyclists who regard themselves as an entitled class of people. After all, they're saving the planet by reducing their carbon footprints. And all of the things the city (and other entities) do on their behalf are owed to them. When a vehicle uses roads, it must be licensed, and it must be demonstrated that the operator of the vehicle understands the rules of the road and obeys them. This is in the name of public safety.
The licenses and exams not only ensure the operators of vehicles are knowledgeable, but they also generate income in the form of fees.
So the fact that there is no such requirement of bicyclists seems counter-intuitive to the idea of public safety.
Expenses related to the infrastructure improvements that have been implemented that benefit bicyclists are paid for by who? Most of the costs in 2016 were shouldered by property owners and the drivers of cars. 
My idea which is shared by others, is to require bicyclists to pay for a greater share of the improvements that have been made to primarily benefit them. The simplest way to do that seems to be licenses and tabs. They would still have their own lanes and free parking no matter where they go.
I say bicycles have taken over Seattle, but I really mean riders. Seattle has Stockholm Syndrome when it comes to yielding to the demands of bicyclists.
Is there an amicable solution? I don't see one.
What do you think?

Thank you to Verizon for providing me with a strong signal wherever I roam, and a fabulous camera in the Google Pixel 2XL that helps me capture what I see.
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  1. Hey T, you come up with some of the most interesting ideas! Tabs for bikes is one that I hadn't thought about before...but that might work? What I find amusing is that you haven't ridden your bike... in this decade, (smile) because that still puts you a step ahead of me. I haven't even owned one for more than a decade. :) I am not surprised to learn that Seattle is up there in the rankings but am just now learning it is up at #1. Who Knew? - T

    1. Teresa, this is so weird, but I thought I commented. Also, David thought he left a comment but it has vanished. ANYHOO, thank you for YOUR comment!

      Yes, I realize I think about things many people don't think about at all!

      I knew Seattle was getting "up there" on the bike-friendly city list, but had no idea it had become number 1. Crazy, huh?

      Thank you for your response, and I would like to see you one of these days!


  2. I appreciate that you confess that you haven't used your bike in this decade -- I haven't been on one for even longer than that! I'm grateful that for the most part, in my south Seattle neighborhood, I'm not affected by bike lanes, and don't drive in areas that this is an issue, most of the time. But -- I can identify with the exasperation expressed by people whose travel is hampered by bike lanes -- downtown Seattle 2nd Avenue used to be a great way to drive from one end of town to the other, but the bike lanes there and EVEN MORE, the construction going on there and really everywhere, reduces lanes and makes a car trip -- commute, errand, whatever -- a total time suck. The tabs idea is great, spread the costs around a little! Right on!

    1. Dear Melissa,

      I have ridden a bicycle in this decade, but it wasn't mine :) I fear my bike would need a serious "tune up" before it's road worthy. ("rode worthy?)

      You're fortunate you aren't impacted by bike lanes. That said, I like the wonderful walking path that stretches from Jefferson Park to south Beacon Avenue. No stress, no conflict with cars or bikes?

      Thanks so much for your understanding about the frustration, and I'm glad you viewed my suggestion about tabs with an open minded attitude!


  3. Anonymous3:12 PM

    Bicycles are a 19th Century invention, not a 21st Century solution for a rainy city built on hills. If people want to ride bikes, I say go for it. Just make sure you tie a wooden hydroplane to the back.

    1. Anonymous, interesting observation, and bicycles with hydros would at least be fun! Thanks for commenting!


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