Regarding a recent letter titled "Fund Bike Lanes with a Cyclist Use-Tax": While I do not disagree with your suggestion that a bike tax may be an effective way to finance bike lanes — and I, for one, would happily fork out $15 a year for a bike license tag — I need to address your statement that "Like many a local vehicle driver, I have cussed our on-road bicyclists who ride doubly or singly in the middle of the lane." The riders you are referring to sound like leisure riders, but just in case you are referring to commuters, I was recently educated as to the merit of taking the lane.
Twenty years ago I lived in Athens, Ga., and was part of a group trying to get bike lanes there (still none there, to my knowledge). Back then, the rule was to ride with the traffic, follow the rules of the road and stay to the far right. Now the rules have changed, and I see the wisdom in it.
Asheville, like many cities in America, is a dangerous place for a cyclist. I commute on a bicycle for many reasons. I have always loved riding, and it's good exercise, but I am more committed to this mode of transportation everyday because of the state of things: uncertainty of fuel and pollution (excuse me for stating the obvious). I want to be one less car on the road.
These days, and especially in Asheville where our geography tends to compound the situation, I question whether biking is good for my health as I breath in the exhaust from all our cars on the road. There are plenty of roads I will not ride and times of day that I avoid being on the road, but the wisdom of taking the lane is still something I find myself happy to employ at times to be sure that car sees me. It can make the difference between someone having to drive a little slower or the driver fatally clipping a cyclist. Come on, folks.
— Jennifer Lapidus