Veloviews for January 27, 2023 – The Controversy with Bike Lanes

Photo of a Residential Bike Lane by Andrew Patrick from

Unfortunately, bike lanes that pass through residential neighborhoods and the center of towns have become a source of controversy, especially for some small business owners. They either embrace them or detest them.

According to an article featured by Wired, a neighborhood in Queens, NY has responded in a mixed way about the bike lanes being installed. Some of the small businesses see it as a positive while others feel the presence of bike lanes has hurt their business.

Here’s The Story

Five years ago, a main thoroughfare through Queens experienced a major change. 116 parking spots were removed to make way for bike lanes. While cyclists loved that this was occurring, local business owners reacted negatively.

Those business owners claimed there would be a decrease in traffic and that they would lose substantial revenue. As a result, they protested and sent angry letters to their city council. But it was too late, the bike lanes came in.

The True Impact of Bike Lanes

A year after the Wired writer wrote his story, he revisited the Queens neighborhood to see if these businesses were suffering financial hardship. It turns out the neighborhood experienced a 12% increase in sales.

There is a surplus of data, in fact, that illustrates that bike lanes help to increase sales and traffic through various communities in 23 cities. But even though that may be true, many business owners are still skeptical. Maybe they’re worried this interest in cycling is just a trend.

Picture of a Cyclist Riding in a Bike Lane by Spolyakov

Business Owners’ Response to Bike Lanes

Even though many businesses have seen an increase in traffic and sales, there are cases where the opposite occurred. For instance, a small business owner in Cambridge, MA claims a 40% decrease in business occurred.

These businesses claim that many of their customers drive because they are an hour away or long-time residents in the neighborhood. That means these customers don’t come in as frequently. And what is the one major reason they cite for this: little to no parking.

Last Thoughts

It’s easy to understand the controversy around bike lanes and sympathize with business owners and residents. However, the world and society are changing. More bikes on the road mean cleaner air to breathe and a healthier population.

Plus, people in their cars can’t divert their attention as easily while driving and may miss small businesses. Bike riders can take the time to stop, shop, walk, eat, and genuinely experience what is around them. The data proves that bike lanes make things better in the long run.

What are your thoughts about bike lanes in your community? Have they made things better or have you seen push back? Please like, share, and comment if you enjoyed this post.

Have a great weekend everyone. It’s the last week full week of January, which means we’re one month closer to spring.

Author: Doug McNamee

Freelance Content Writer, Travel Writer, Editor, and poet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: