Seattle resident Jan Heine is a very respected figure in the bicycling world. As editor of Bicycle Quarterly, a magazine that delves deeply into bicycle design and randonneuring, he has a large and loyal following. So when he published a lengthy blog post yesterday that was highly critical of the “worrisome trend” in the U.S. of building and advocating for cycle tracks and other types of physically separated bikeways — I wasn’t surprised at the heated debate it stirred up (both in his comment section and on Twitter when I shared the link).
Heine has touched a nerve on one of the the most heated debates in the bicycling world: Should we create separation (which is the outlook held by almost every major bike advocacy organization) similar to the great bike cities of northern Europe; or should we focus on educating people how to “take the lane” and maintain the push for “vehicular cycling” wherein people on bikes learn to share lanes with those of us in cars. (Or better yet, as some have pointed out in comments below, we should combine the best aspects of the two approaches.)