Wednesday, January 6, 2010

in case you were curious

I wonder what this says about our respective cultures.

Here in the US, we paint bike lanes rather abstractly. Two circles, a semblance of stick figure with a bowl on its head: that somehow adds up to equal a lane where people ride their bikes.

In New Zealand, the bike is rather expertly drawn, yet it lacks a rider:

Check that out, though! It even has crank arms and a full, geometrically-accurate diamond frame!

Aesthetically, I prefer the New Zealand approach. I love that the bike lane icon looks like a bike that could actually take you places, that it hints at a real, functioning method of transportation, that it seems to have been designed by someone who actually had seen a real bike in his or her life. Of course, I like that here we acknowledge that there are riders on the bikes over there in that lane: soft, smooshy riders (even if they don't have hands or feet and they ride on a contraption of two disparate circles) that one should look out for when one is on the road.

Of course, the real win here is that in both countries, there are lanes totally dedicated to bikes, colored and painted separately, a little safe haven for the self-propelled. I wasn't really expecting to see that in New Zealand, and was quite pleasantly surprised. It makes me think there's hope for the world when I see bikes being accepted as a legitimate means of transportation, no matter how the space for them is demarcated.

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