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Against the Grain

September 13, 2013

Think all salmoning is a product of scofflaw cyclists with little regard for the law? Elly Blue would like you to think again.

Another problem that salmoning can diagnose is bad infrastructure, missing links in the bike network. When you see someone riding the wrong way on a bike, the chances are good that they have chosen this as a crummy alternative to an even crummier series of major roads and horrifying intersections.

I hear about this all the time from people who are deeply embedded in the bike community, who know the laws better than they know their kids’ schedules, who ride dozens of miles every week on city streets doing everything by the book—except maybe there’s one street next to their kids’ daycare they don’t feel safe riding on, so they ride against traffic on a one-way side street to get around it.

Unfortunately in many places, even in some areas of the emerging bicycle cities of the US, people who ride bikes are presented with a series of bad choices—two possible routes, both unsafe. Is it so wrong, when faced with only bad choices, that many of us choose the slightly less stressful route, even if it happens to not be legal?


  1. September 13, 2013 5:15 pm

    On Bedford ave. in Brooklyn tons of cyclists salmon, probably be because the south bound Franklin ave stinks. I don’t like that the salmoning happens, but I do think it indicates the need for a protected two way bike lane on Bedford ave.

  2. September 17, 2013 4:59 pm

    I see how frequent salmoning indicates bad infrastructure, but I don’t think there’s any justification for such an unsafe action. (Walk your bike the block!) Just because other people are doing it …

  3. September 21, 2013 11:07 pm

    Make streets two way when wide enough, remove parking as necessary, allow contra-flow cycling on narrow one-way streets.

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