The City of San Antonio's bicycle coordinator attempts to ride up Hildebrand Avenue near the University of the Incarnate Word. Photo: Tom Reel/Express-News
Adapted for use by Cycle*Dallas.
Recently, San Antonio's bicycle coordinator demonstrated to the San Antonio Express News ("The Express-News: If it bleeds, it leads") how difficult and dangerous it was to ride a bicycle on Hildebrand Avenue, as an example of why the city needed more bike lanes (top photo).
In the photo directly above of "two" cyclists on Hildebrand, which cyclist is the one riding safely, and which is the frustrated cyclist putting herself at risk of injury and confrontation?
If I cycled in the roadway gutter, on broken pavement between cars-and-curb (like the cyclist pictured being cut off by a right-turning pickup truck), I would find this a scary roadway for a bicyclist. If I rode like the cyclist pictured behind the Volvo (same cyclist now digitally transported to the proper lane position), I would have no difficulties on this stretch of road.
Notice that the addition of a 3' bike lane on this road (max possible without spending $5+ million a mile for right-of-way and reconstruction) would not change the cyclist's experience. She would still have bad pavement, cars squeezing her against the curb, and motor vehicles turning right across her path.
Which would you choose? Proper lane positioning, or unnecessary and dangerous lane subservience?
SOAP BOX DERBY
You really can't blame her for the poor cycling technique demonstrated. All her life, she has been told by the motor-centric authorities that she is supposed to ride her bicycle "as far right as practicable" (get out of the way of cars), which she thinks means "as far right as possible". But that's not what the law says, and in Texas (and therefore in San Antonio, our Queen City), she can control the entire lane if it is less than 14' wide (99% of all Texas roads are built and maintained with lanes less than 14' wide).
So who will tell her? Sadly, the organizations you would expect to tell her (organizations like the Texas Bicycle Coalition and the League of American Bicyclists) have instead adopted a policy of promoting segregated facilities for cyclists over cyclist and motorist education. Even though the LAB continues to offer League Cycling Instruction (a development of the previous Effective Cycling course the League once offered), the official position is now "bike lanes first", complain about the lack of bike lanes second, trails third, and education last (with any number of things placed before it in order of importance). TBC seems to simply lobby for money to pay its staff, while waving the "bloody red jersey" whenever the coffers are low. BikeDFW is not much better, continually using fear of traffic as its public appeal, although the dedicated efforts of Gail Spann and Richard Wharton (and others) to educate cyclists is beginning to gain some traction.
But there is hope on the horizon. In the meantime, I recommend that San Antonio's bicycle coordinator contact a local LCI (League Cycling Instructor) in order to learn how to ride safely and confidently. She'll be glad she did, and it will make her better at her taxpayer-funded job.