Hardly a day goes by without my seeing some egregious statement in the media regarding bicycling. On CBS Sunday Morning, I heard the Principal of Alta+Design (and former Portland Bicycle Coordinator) flat out lie about cycling statistics in her town, but then Alta+Design has seldom been accused of being "reality based".
"Paint Saves!" seems to be their mantra, whether it's white paint, blue paint, or green paint. I suppose she's become the new Benny Hinn of Bicycling.
In the Fort Worth Star Telegram's bicycling tips, I saw the Fort Worth Police Department say it was illegal to ride a bike on the shoulder of a highway. Again, not true, just wishful thinking from a "cars first" mindset.
In the Dallas Morning News' recent side bar on cycling tips, I saw a criminally negligent statement attributed to the Texas Legislature (?) that cyclists must ride "next to the curb". Not true. The law states that cyclists on standard width roadways shall ride "as close to the road edge as is practicable", which is a totally different thing. If the road edge is unsafe due to trash, drain inlets, and bad pavement, "practicable" can mean three feet (or more) out from the edge/curb. If the road lane is sub-standard width (meaning below 12', and most urban multi-lane road lanes are), the cyclist may "take the lane", providing they don't impede the flow of traffic. That last part doesn't having a car queue up behind you, it means not allowing cars to pass.
The instruction to "ride next to the curb or road edge" is the primary cause of one of the cycling accidents most bicyclists fear the most: getting struck from the rear by a passing motorist as the motorist overtakes. If the cyclist is riding three to five feet out from the road edge in those instances, the motorist gives the cyclist a wider berth while passing, actually pulling out to pass, as opposed to keeping a straight line and squeezing the willing sacrificial cycling victim against the curb.
Cyclists! Take the damn lane. It's yours!