One of the most oppressing features of a contemporary city are streets. These “veins” of the city offer the influx and outflux of industrial materials, commercial processes and individual persons. Streets are both the path and the place of city life. However, the monopolization of city streets by personal vehicles (cars) causes them to be incredibly exclusive to anyone not in a car… perhaps even to those experiencing the street in a car, as they navigate the city in isolated compartments on wheels. However, in the fight to open our city streets, bike lanes fit perfectly into our arsenal of inclusion. Bike lanes urge drivers to acknowledge the right of cyclists on the street. While riding bikes in the street provides the same disruption of driving-as-usual, bike lanes cause drivers to be aware of the space for cyclists, even when cyclists are absent from the road, changing the dynamic of city streets.
Drivers in an American city must obey traffic laws. The concern of the driver is to reach a point B through navigating an obstacle course of symbols which signify the rules/laws of the road. (ex: stop signs, traffic lights, etc) These laws are dictated by an array of symbols and markings painted on the street he drives upon, posted before the roads he may cross. A driver must heed these symbols, and subject his choices to them. Bike lanes are another form of legal symbol, and drivers will more readily heed the dictation of a sign than the existence of a cyclist on the road.
Also, Jaywalking is a method of opening the city. Jaywalking is a term originating in the early 20th century. It derives from the slang term ‘jay,’ which was commonly used in the
There seems to be a general disregard for crosswalks in
When one jaywalks, not just along a crosswalk, but in the middle of a street, one reclaims the space delineated by a street as open space. One breaks the law of a sidewalk, the dictatorial direction imposed on the pedestrian. One begins to reclaim the power of one’s own two feet, inscribing a path upon any surface of the city and effectively subverting the dominion of crosswalks and cars. TAKE BACK THE STREETS - ON A BIKE OR ON YOUR FEET!