The Old “We Don’t Need Bike Lanes Because Nobody Bikes Here” Nonsense

“I went out and parked under a shade tree, it was on a Saturday, a beautiful day and I counted in one hour 374 cars and zero bikes,” Fresno City Councilman Steve Brandau told a local ABC affiliate.

Fresno's Fruit Avenue was scheduled for a road diet, until a local councilman's "informal study" concluded no one bikes there. Image: ##http://abclocal.go.com/kfsn/story?section=news/politics&id=9113925## ABC Local##

That claim — some version of which should be familiar to bike advocates everywhere — was used to kill a road diet in Fresno, California, that was planned for three years, enjoyed wide public support, and would have cost local taxpayers nothing. James Sinclair at Stop and Move is outraged that a thoroughly vetted project that would have offered many public benefits was derailed.

He says the “nobody bikes here so we don’t need bike lanes” attitude is willful political ignorance at its worst:

That’s right, one council member chose to ignore expert traffic engineers, expert planners, and years of community outreach and work because he sat outside in his car and counted cars. And so he torpedoed a project outside his jurisdiction, one which he apparently did not understand.

Let’s also forget for a second that sitting in your car for an unspecified amount of time is not a traffic study. Let’s imagine for a second, that not one cyclist actually did go by. 374 cars on a 4 lane road? Clearly, the REAL traffic engineers were right when they said a road diet would cause no congestion — that’s nothing!

There’s also the fact that cyclists don’t use the road BECAUSE it lacks bike lanes. Nobody drives on the proposed Veteran’s Avenue either, and yet the city will spend tens of millions to build it.

Sinclair says the only good thing that could come out of this ordeal is for Brandau to be voted out of office. Shortly after his “stand” against bike lanes, Sinclair reports, a handful of people expressed interest in challenging him.

Elsewhere on the Network today: The Dallas Morning News’ Transportation Blog reports that there is still talk of tearing down a downtown highway. Bike Portland explores possible explanations for the precipitous drop in cycling among girls after the age of 14. And the Beat Bike Blog explains why he’s so happy not to have a yard.