Seattle Bike Lane Opponents Say Moms Don’t Use Bike Lanes, Get Owned by Biking Moms


A Seattle group fighting a plan for safer bike lanes and better crosswalks on 35th Avenue really stepped in it last week with a Tweet claiming that “single mothers” don’t bike.

Lots of local moms begged to differ.

The replies on Twitter were so strong that the bike lane opponents, known as “Save 35th Ave NE,” deleted the Tweet and — LOL — the whole account. But don’t worry, Tom Fucoloro at Seattle Bike Blog screencapped the whole exchange:moms tweet


Screen-Shot-2018-03-23-at-1.58.36-PMScreen-Shot-2018-03-23-at-1.59.11-PMScreen-Shot-2018-03-23-at-1.59.23-PMScreen-Shot-2018-03-23-at-2.00.52-PMScreen-Shot-2018-03-23-at-2.02.03-PMScreen-Shot-2018-03-23-at-2.02.33-PMScreen-Shot-2018-03-23-at-2.02.14-PMThere are many more replies preserved for posterity over at Seattle Bike Blog.

Fucoloro hopes the response will get bike lane opponents to “question some of their assumptions about who bikes and why these bike lanes might actually be good for their neighborhood.” All people are asking for is a route where they can bike separated from car traffic:

Graphic: City of Seattle
Image: City of Seattle

In other news: Better Burque reports that Albuquerque is removing its only protected bike lane. For shame! And Market Urbanism reviews the impact of shifting parking requirements on apartment construction in Portland.

32 thoughts on Seattle Bike Lane Opponents Say Moms Don’t Use Bike Lanes, Get Owned by Biking Moms

  1. One tweet pictures a woman cyclist who was killed while riding in the “safer” bike lane. Box truck driver never saw her, probably because he was focused on traffic zone.

  2. This shows the risk of (over) generalizing. Seems I recall surveys showing about 25% of bike traffic is by women.

  3. I couldn’t help but notice the “Parking” area is more narrow than the bike lane. Is this meant to be parking for bicycles or for automobiles? Because unless your car is thinner than 18″, this ain’t gonna work.

  4. That’s a good question. The street where Sher Kung was killed, 2nd Avenue, was not a protected bike lane at the time of the crash. It was a notoriously dangerous paint-only door zone lane on the left edge of a multi lane one-way street. It has since been redesigned as a protected bike lane with controlled intersections separating bike traffic from left-turning car traffic to prevent exactly this type of collision.

  5. It would have been a nice addition to this article if at least one single dad would have been included as well.

  6. Uh, the whole point was that bike lane opponents were claiming in particular that single moms don’t bike.

  7. Lots of issues with that image. Notice the great job the city did at hiding the logo for the gas station (that’s something they photoshopped on the street view image). Or the removal of the completely faded sharrow markings on the street?

    What should concern all Seattle residents is our DOT’s bike infrastructure solutions are almost always based on paint. In wet Seattle you are lucky if painted street markings remain legible after a single rainy winter and most of the sharrow markings on neighborhood Greenways, I have one outside my house, are gone within one year of installation.

    Ironically as all the cross streets on our Greenways have stop signs the Greenway is now the route of choice for Google maps as it provides the fastest route through our neighborhood…for cars. Most days I think the Seattle DOT is out to kill pedestrians and cyclists.

  8. Man, so many things wrong with that initial comment! On top of the dumb idea that single moms don’t bike:

    – Let’s say bike lanes are mostly used by “privileged techbros.” So what? Isn’t it better to have them on bikes than in cars? Wouldn’t people be complaining just as much (if not more) if the techbros were taking Ubers through their neighborhood?
    – Even if most cyclists are currently younger men (not sure if that’s true), better bike infrastructure makes it more likely that the streets can be enjoyed by all.

  9. I enjoyed seeing all of the unique bikes that allow an entire family to fit (and survive the rain) on a single two-wheeler! This illustrates perfectly why e-bikes are a solution, not a problem, as well as why safe bike infrastructure benefits everyone.

  10. If mothers bike with their children, then bike infrastructure needs to be wide enough for trailers and cargo bikes. Nothing is more ironic than forcing a family into traffic because the bike/pedestrian bridge has gates that only admit techbros’ narrow road bikes.

  11. The audacity of claiming bicycle commuters are being “selfish” in asking for adequate infrastructure when the streets have been designed almost exclusively for private cars for the past six decades is astounding. How tone-deaf can you be?

  12. It may be a cult, but it’s one that can ride on 4.5 million miles of public roads in the U.S., while those sticking to separate and unequal bike facilities have at most a thousand or so miles to ride on. Every mile given over to cyclists seems to have to be pulled out like wisdom teeth from the motoring majority. It’s great that these protected bike lanes reduce traffic injuries, but there’s even fewer miles of them and if you want to ride any distance, soon enough you’ll wish the money and political capital had been spent on education and enforcement.

  13. Love love love the responses, particularly Kelsey Mesher’s line- “the irony is that for decades streets were designed by men for men.” Unfortunately, the sad refrain that bikes are just for tech bros AKA white people is a trope meant to silence discussion by making pro-bike people sound racist. Good for all these responses.

  14. It was my favorite line too, because it reinforced the hilarious pervasiveness of identity/victim politics.

    Seriously, Kelsey? I agree that roads were initially designed by men–since infrastructure was a male-dominated field 140 years ago, when most of our urban environments were blossoming (and women back then didn’t really raise too many objections one way or another)–but to presume that they were only designing for other men sounds like some serious tinfoil-hat conspiracy stuff.

    What’s next? Sidewalks are sexist? Curbs? Doorknobs? Men have long dominated biking because they enjoy it more, and they tend to be more risk-tolerant which makes them more tolerant of biking in congested environments, which are no less dangerous for men than for women. By contrast, women have come to dominate long-distance running and now typically comprise 60% of the participants in major marathons.

  15. Agreed, this is more like an extended screed for people (male and female) who are jealous of techbros’ ambition and success.

    And then, to top it all off, a sizable percentage of these techbros have the audacity to be socially conscious and bike to work. Shame! A bet a lot of them are vegan, have less than 8% bodyfat, and play electric bass or drums for a hip indie band on the weekends. Of all the nerve!

  16. I know what you’re saying about identity/victim politics but if you look at the planning and engineering history, the studies, estimates, and assumptions made at the time many of our roads, highways, and transit systems were built only take into account men commuting so in cars, particularly to/from the suburbs- highways going through cities, transit hours, station locations, suburban home design, etc.

  17. Men enjoy biking “more”?? what does this even mean? because they don’t have kids at their hip the shlep around or they are just THAT much cooler? Comparing running to biking is comparing apples to oranges. Running is is easier, does not require safe road infrastructure or a bicycle, so yes, maybe women dominated that way since guys were busy biking. We want safe roads for ALL, for you too Lauren.

  18. I get what you’re saying as well, but if cars or other vehicles were the fundamental unit of measurement for highways, station locations, transit hours, etc, what does it matter what gonads the passengers/drivers possess?

  19. Indeed…then why single out “safe for women”? Do women and men suffer different threats or injuries while bicycling, unique to their biology?

    Beyond that, if it’s unreasonable to use empirical evidence to assert that men enjoy biking more, its equally unreasonable to assert that men enjoy Urban Blogging more and women enjoy Photo Collection/Sharing more. But it’s perfectly reasonable to assert these things, because the online evidence bears it out.

    I don’t want to put words in your mouth, but I think you’re presuming that I’m sneering at women’s lower participation levels in bicycling. Not the intention. (But then, you’re also assuming I think men are cooler or perpetually childless.) Men clearly DO gravitate toward riskier environments, which may factor in to why we see fewer female urban bicyclists. But men also do this to their own detriment: their risk tolerance makes them the lion’s share of bike-related injuries and fatalities. That said, all the road design improvements in the world aren’t going to change sex-differentiated psychological dispositions, and while safer road conditions could get more women out bicycling, they’ll inevitably get more men bicycling too.

    No amount of engineering is going to shift Zumba and Yoga classes so that men routinely outnumber women. There will always be a gender gap on some activities.

  20. It’s not so much the measurement as the planning itself. Suburbs were designed around the idea of one person (almost always the man) commuting solo in a car. But women were expected to stay at home (isolated) or travel constantly to school, shopping, kids’ activities, all in different places. And if that’s what some people want, great! But we have a dearth of other options and we make it really difficult to travel outside of that specific commuting pattern. And that’s a choice that’s disproportionally affected women. Safety design of transit options is another thing that transit agencies only started considering in the past 15-20 years. I’m not saying it was a malicious conspiracy, just a lack of planning to provide for different travel patterns, lifestyles, safety, etc.

  21. so what is your real point, I think you are just expanding on many of the points mentioned? I thought the article is about making 35th safer to everyone, by debunking the caveat that the moms are the protagonists. It’s not only them. Mom’s are jut catching up because of various detriments you speak so clearly and THOROUGHLY about, while in many places of the world moms have been doing this for years equally to men. Anyways, YAY to MOMS AND WHITE TECH DUDES AND ANYONE IN BETWEEN.

  22. Also I don’t necessarily see it being one sided when using women in this movement if it benefits everyone. It would not have such an impact in some cases if we did not focus on kids, elderly, women. Being emancipated of feminist does not mean we can’t acknowledge that some groups need attention because their participation in planning for safety and using the space same way has been undermined for years. Women may have fears using the space if it’s not safe, especially if they are cycling with kids, meanwhile, dudes who have been cycling for years may be much balsy to ride on unsafe streets.

  23. Wrong. It’s aell documented the majority of crashes occur at driveways and intersections- the places where there is no protection.

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