Photo contest: Bad streets for bicycling


I recently posted a link to my coverage last year of our trip to Las Vegas. I believe Vegas may be the worst city for bicycling in the country, and I attempted to capture some of those terrible bicycling conditions in photos. The photo above is one that I snapped of a street where we actually saw somebody bicycling.

My pal P.J. countered with a photo he took in Lake Oswego, Oregon — a suburb of Portland.

I argued that my Vegas photos were much, much worse. P.J. didn’t take that sitting down. I figure there’s something to be said for a lot of places being bad.

In this spirit of friendly competition, I am announcing a contest that surely nobody wants to win: The Bad Streets for Bicycling Photo Contest.

Photos must be of places where, much as it might suck to ride, people ride anyway, or could (e.g., not the freeway, unless it’s a freeway where it’s legal to ride and people actually do).

The deadline is midnight on May 11th, 2012.

Consideration will be given to photos that meet the following criteria, in order of importance:

1. Original work by you.
2. Are generally good photos that evoke the horror of the place.
3. Optional: Bonus points if someone in the photo is actually riding a bike, or there are signs or other road markings visible that welcome people to ride bicycles on your bad infrastructure of choice.

In this contest, everybody loses. Also, everybody wins in a sense … if you submit your work/bad street, it’ll be displayed publicly below. But there will be, for formal purposes, a “winner.” This person will be chosen based on my personal judgment, as informed by reader feedback.

The grand prize will consist of sympathy, a set of the zines I currently have in print, and maybe another prize if somebody would like to donate something appropriate. The winner will also have the opportunity to write a post for this blog about the subject of their photo; perhaps we can get something done about it, or at least give you a chance to vent.

Enter by posting your photo and/or a link in the comments below. Also include a sentence or two explaining where your photo is and anything else we should know. One submission per person! Please include your email address in the space allotted (it won’t be visible publicly) so I can contact you if you’ve “won!”

Readers, please weigh in. And hang on, it’s going to be a depressing ride.

10 Responses to “Photo contest: Bad streets for bicycling”

  1. Boenau April 27, 2012 at 1:22 pm #

    Here’s my contribution:

    This is a U.S. highway in Virginia. It suffers from the classic suburban widening epidemic. The posted speed is 35 MPH, but the design speed is either 55-60 MPH. The corridor is 9-lanes wide at this point. As you might imagine, vehicles *only* driving 35 MPH are quite rare.

    • Elly April 27, 2012 at 2:17 pm #

      Thank you. Wow. It’s going to be hard to top this one.

  2. Elena April 29, 2012 at 2:16 pm #

    Are you familiar with this blog? There’s some amazingly horrifyingly dumb bits of cycle infrastructure in it.

  3. Max April 30, 2012 at 9:54 pm #

    After crossing the Glenn Jackson bridge (Portland, OR) I was shocked to find out that apparently the shoulder of Washington’s SR 14 is apparently a bikeway — yes that’s right 55 MPH (?) speed limit, jersey barrier and all.

    Truly, this is the “wrong way”. Here’s the satellite photo from google maps.

  4. Shane May 15, 2012 at 3:04 pm #

    This one may not be the WORST but it’s certainly made worse by the fact that it is right next to a school AND the school that was located to the East of here (left on photo) was closed down last year so now most of those kids have to cross this street to get to school. A lot of parents want to walk or bike to the school but don’t feel safe doing so. That’s Bad!

  5. Gary Kavanagh May 15, 2012 at 3:39 pm #

  6. Gary Kavanagh May 15, 2012 at 3:43 pm #

    Previous comment didn’t work right, but here’s a street, Jefferson Blvd in LA, where you have to travel under a menacing spaghetti interchange of freeways on a wide boulevard with it’s own high speed traffic and many turn lanes.

  7. Stephanie May 18, 2012 at 12:47 am #

    Stumbled across this as a cyclist/Portlander who resides in Vegas part time. I’ve been a commuter for 7 years and I confess, I find riding in Vegas much safer than Portland. 1. There are fewer people on bikes to dodge because it’s so hot. 2. There are no winding roads. Pure visibility for miles. 3. Cars don’t flip you off, honk, stalk you, or attempt to run you over. They go around you because they have better things to do. 4. There are plenty of bike lanes in Vegas, which reside on pleasant straightaways. 5. fewer stop signs for less confusion. 6. Less glass and small debris along the roads, just larger more visible debris, like shopping carts and body parts. The scene in the picture is a route I’ve taken several times. It’s about visibility, timing and respect.


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