Update: Pro and Con Passions Flare Over Royal Oak Bike Lanes

August 11, 2016, 12:25 PM by  Alan Stamm

We thought strongly worded reader comments about Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton would be as hot as reactions got this week.

How naive.

A divide over road-sharing by bicyclists and motorists seems just as wide and fierce as the presidential campaign chasm. Also as busy, with dozens of comments in a day and a half.

"Idiots," "jackasses," "stupid" and "moron" are flung -- all by one Hazel Park bike hater.

"Use the sidewalk. . . . Bikers are pedestrians," another reader posts on our Facebook page under a link to the article below about Royal Oak's decision not to move ahead on that idea. (Some communities ban sidewalk cycling.)

On the other side, a comment at our site decries "short-sighted car bullies."


These are among reactions from Deadline readers:

► All those cars traveling 25 mph are bringing money to Royal Oak, not those few in the bike lane. -- Edward Castro, Royal Oak

► Main street should be made safer for pedestrians and bicyclists. That means intentionally reducing traffic and speed of cars. . . .  The mayor came to the wrong conclusion. -- Joseph Pierzchala, Detroit 

► Finally, someone takes a stand against the bike lobby! Could all you bikers do me a couple favors, please: 1.) use the sidewalk, 2.) walk your bike in a downtown area, 3.) if you should need to ride in the street (which should only be done if a sidewalk is not available) please be aware of the cars that the road is intended for. . . . Bikers are pedestrians. -- Scott Alan (from two comments)

► I'm all for nixing the bike lanes, but riding bikes on sidewalks is extremely dangerous. Bikes should share the streets and follow all vehicular laws. -- Norman Fletcher

 If you think it's more dangerous to ride a bike on the sidewalk than on a road you are a moron. I see these jackasses riding in the road with a 45 mph speed limit when there is an 8-foot-wide asphalt safety path 15 feet away. You have to be stupid to ride in the road. I see it all day everyday in Auburn Hills. Plus half these idiots don't follow the rules of the road. -- David Ciaramella

► There are signs in downtown Royal Oak that say you must walk your bike if you're on the sidewalk. Bikers are not supposed to ride on the sidewalk. -- Dicky Paridee, Roseville

► There are too many bike lanes already! -- Myron Lemon, Detroit 

► Unless you actually want to get people killed in the streets, keep bikes off of the roads! -- Michael Beckerman

► Oh, the monopoly of the car. . . . The people that drive cars here are too impatient . . . to allow a healthy and green life style choice to work. This city needs to get up to date. -- Jeffrey Steibel

 You can still ride your bicycle on Main Street. Just would make more sense, and much safer, if you rode in a park. -- Jeff Dickinson, Royal Oak

► What a bone-headed decision. We've tried a century of catering to cars. It's now time to try something different. -- Headly Westerfield

► I'm all for bike lanes, but not on Main Street. . . . The street isn't wide enough. . . . The combination of bars, alcohol and parking in a Main Street is not going to end well on a football Saturday or Sunday. -- Jill Baran​, Royal Oak

► Very rarely do I see the headline "bicyclist kills pedestrian/biker" but maybe I'm not reading the right newspaper. -- Amanda Klein, Royal Oak

► As a lifelong bicycle rider and lover this doesn't bother me at all. During my commute I have to share the road with cyclists, but the level of disregard and entitlement some cyclist (usually the "serious" Spandex ones,.not the casual riders) have for the laws is amazing. Running stop signs and red lights, passing on the left at a red light so they can get out front and all of the cars need to pass them a second time or make a turn in a driver's blind spot. My favorite was the two guys taking up a full lane in a 45 mph stretch of Woodward during rush hour at 25 mph. There is as difference between sharing a lane or the road and feeling entitled to do what ever best fits your needs to continue pedaling with no regard for the laws. -- Matt Jensen, Royal Oak

► They are definitely needed there. Too bad the typically short-sighted car bullies are getting their way. Main Street there for sure needs some traffic calming. -- Anonymous

Here's one more from a cycling commuter, commenting under the Royal Oak Daily Tribune article we summarize:

► I'm a resident and I rely on bike lanes to safely get to my job. Last I checked we had no mandates saying that you have to own a car to get around. It's about safe access for all, not just the majority. -- Keith Kowalski, Royal Oak 

Original article, Wednesday night:

Mayor Jim Ellison suggested narrowing Main Street in downtown Royal Oak for motorist so bicyclists could have dedicated lanes. That idea hasn't gone well.


The mayor now says it was a bad idea, Mike McConnell of the Royal Oak Daily Tribune reports. Officials have put the brakes on it following a short study and mostly negative reaction from residents.

“We shot from the hip and said, ‘Let’s try Main Street,’ and ended up shooting ourselves in the foot,” he said, according to the Tribune. “I don’t think Main Street is where we want to have bike lanes.”

The Trib reports: 

City Commissioners agreed bike lanes are good for the city and more should be done to install them. But most elected officials object to putting bike lanes on Main Street in the downtown district, which is used by about 20,000 motorists a day.

“I think we need them . . . I just don’t think we need them on Main Street,”  Commissioner Patricia Paruch say. “There is too much traffic.”

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