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Old 08-07-05, 02:10 PM   #1
TXChick
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New Bike Lanes Causing Driver Outrage

My city has FINALLY begun striping bike lanes on our streets, but we seem to have a bit of a problem. They haven't reached my side of town yet, so using them hasn't been an issue for me, but I have seen the new lanes and I must admit they seem be poorly-planned compared to those I've seen in other cities. They've been placed on busy streets, but they're not against the curb, they cut into the lanes that are used by cars and trucks. There are basically two new "lanes" now; the one against the curb is for people to park in, then there's the bike lane. That means the once wide street is now a very narrow lane in both directions. And people are pissed! It's led to a lot more cyclist harrassment (we already had plenty of that, thank you very much) and a lot of letters to the editor of our paper in which people are stating their intentions to drive in the bike lanes and swerve into them if they need to, whether there are bikers in them or not. There have also been a lot of calls for bikers to either ride on sidewalks or get off the road, period. Cyclists I know who live in the newly-striped areas of town are not only afraid to use the new bike lanes, they're afraid to ride on the street at all because they fear being victims of angry drivers who used to not pay attention to them at all. Has anyone experienced this? Is it just resistance to change? I used to be excited by the prospect of having our city streets connected by bike lanes, but now I'm kind of glad I don't have to ride on them.
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Old 08-07-05, 02:14 PM   #2
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Sounds like a case of "Gee, guess I don't own the whole darn road now do I." Motorists like to think they do own the road, even mention gas taxes and the like to justify their thinking. Probably upsets them when the discover they have to actually "share."
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Old 08-07-05, 02:22 PM   #3
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If the letters weren't anonymous, maybe your letter to the editor should contain a statement about keeping copies of those other letters, for future use by law enforcement and civil litigation attorneys if those people ever actually do that.
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Old 08-07-05, 02:24 PM   #4
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And by the way, our city's municipal code states that if a bike lane is available, cyclists must ride in it unless making a lefthand turn. Kind of a catch 22 there, too.
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Old 08-07-05, 02:40 PM   #5
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That's what happens with new bike lanes. Drivers will get used to it eventually and it will be about the same as without the lanes. Mostly no better or worse. Possibly worse at intersections. That law is terrible. If you stay on the right at a right hand turn cars may turn right into you. You may have to go into the traffic lane at intersections. Or just be extra careful at every corner. I ride in some occasionally that have the same set up, parking against the curb, then the bike lane, then the car lane. In the end it really means not very much. It's a waste of paint.
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Old 08-07-05, 04:07 PM   #6
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Do you have a bicycle club or advocacy group in the city? Sounds like some activism is needed right away. You don't want to let them start limiting your rights to use the roads!
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Old 08-07-05, 05:42 PM   #7
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I never understood why bike lanes are striped right next to the door zone.
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Old 08-07-05, 06:28 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kuan
I never understood why bike lanes are striped right next to the door zone.
Where else would they be able to put them? They aren't going to widen the street 8 feet for a bike lane. The people making the rules don't know what they're doing, anyway.
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Old 08-07-05, 07:31 PM   #9
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Where else would they be able to put them? They aren't going to widen the street 8 feet for a bike lane. The people making the rules don't know what they're doing, anyway.
Turning the right-side parking lane into a bike lane would work.
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Old 08-07-05, 07:41 PM   #10
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In downtown Minneapolis, for example:

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Old 08-07-05, 09:53 PM   #11
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That picture is interesting. I haven't seen bike lanes like that before. I don't know if there is an advocacy group, but I am looking. I found a seemingly defunct website for one here, but I assume there are some very active cyclists, otherwise I don't think our city would have put bike lanes anywhere to begin with.
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Old 08-08-05, 01:06 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TXChick
That means the once wide street is now a very narrow lane in both directions.
--- Sounds like the street wasn't wide enough.
Did cyclists use the street before bike lanes were painted?
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Old 08-08-05, 02:30 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kuan
I never understood why bike lanes are striped right next to the door zone.
Quote:
Originally Posted by bkrownd
Where else would they be able to put them? They aren't going to widen the street 8 feet for a bike lane. The people making the rules don't know what they're doing, anyway.
Someone probably decided to put a bike lane on the street without thinking through the engineering. Then the engineers had to shoe-horn a lane onto a road where it did not belong.

Part of the reason why I oppose most (but not all) bike lanes is that local governments refuse to design them properly. If you're going to build one, you have to do it right. The problem with putting a bike lane next to a parking lane is that if you make it outside of the door zone, the lane will be just wide enough to make it tempting to cars. And if you make it in the door zone, it's dangerous for cyclists, especially when coupled with the kind of anti-cyclist mandatory-use laws like they have in Amarillo or Portland.

As to the letters from the drivers, think about sending copies to all the auto insurance companies in you local yellow pages. The insurers have huge databases and might just keep a copy. Then, if there's an accident, the right people will have a record.

In the end, these lanes sound like a classic example of "be careful what you ask for."
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Old 08-08-05, 03:56 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kuan
In downtown Minneapolis, for example:
What is that odd skinny vehicle moving toward the camera? Must be something European. Imagine if everyone drove something like that - the reduced congestion and decreased wear on roads! I'll bet it's pretty quiet, too. It would be an urban revolution!
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Old 08-08-05, 11:35 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 77Univega
--- Sounds like the street wasn't wide enough.
Did cyclists use the street before bike lanes were painted?
I'm not sure how heavily used by cyclists the now-striped roads were. Like I said earlier, I don't ride in that part of town and I rarely, if ever, see any other cyclists during my own commute.

I did finally see a map of the planned bike lanes in the southwest quadrant of our city. I guess the idea is that all the schools will be connected by the lanes, but as far as I can tell, there are bike lanes on only four or five major streets. Those are the ones that have already been striped and are causing so many problems.
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Old 08-08-05, 12:11 PM   #16
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If more people biked they wouldn't need those parking spots. I mean, how much parking spots on one block? Not even enough to serve a single office with 20 employees I bet.
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Old 08-08-05, 08:30 PM   #17
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People will just have to drive slower now that the lanes are narrower. Too bad. Boo hoo.

If the parking lane is generous and includes room for the door then the bike lane next to the parking lane isn't a problem. That's how they do it in most (not all, I'll admit) places here.
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Old 08-08-05, 08:48 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kuan
In downtown Minneapolis, for example:

That looks like a recipe for diaster to me. How is it working out?
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Old 08-08-05, 08:58 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TXChick
That picture is interesting. I haven't seen bike lanes like that before. I don't know if there is an advocacy group, but I am looking. I found a seemingly defunct website for one here, but I assume there are some very active cyclists, otherwise I don't think our city would have put bike lanes anywhere to begin with.
That picture is interesting for the cyclist is actually riding in the wrong direction against traffic! This is a two way bike lane where one end of the lane is going against traffic only 8 feet away probably going 30-45 mph! Wonderfully dangerous.
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Old 08-08-05, 09:05 PM   #20
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Look again. I think it is a one-way street so the bikes travelling opposite the one pictured would be going with traffic.
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Old 08-08-05, 09:36 PM   #21
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That picture is interesting for the cyclist is actually riding in the wrong direction against traffic!
Incorrect -- Mpls is well known for these two-way bikeways on an otherwise one-way streets. I'm not generally thrilled about bike lanes, but this is one instance where it's a really good idea.

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Old 08-08-05, 09:51 PM   #22
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An article in the Amarillo Globe News describes the "confusion" the bike lanes are causing. Here are some excerpts:
"Where are we going to put the bike lanes next? ... We have had people comment about them - mostly because they didn't know anything about it," Bill Hall, chairman of the Amarillo Traffic Commission, said during the panel's meeting Wednesday.

McDaniel acknowledged that some residents have expressed surprise to see the new markings on the streets.

"Now we're going to - over the next phase of striping bike lanes - try to send postcards to residents a week ahead of time so they won't be surprised to see them," McDaniel said.

In addition to sending the postcard notices to residents whose streets will get bike lanes, the city's education campaign will include: an article in the August city water bills;
a news conference in late August or early September; flyers distributed to local gyms and bike shops; collaborating with Amarillo Independent School District to educate schoolchildren about the lanes; working with drivers education and defensive driving classes to include bicycle lanes in the curricula for motorists; and broadcasting public service announcements.

"I think the confusion has come because the stripes went down and signs are not up yet," Forrester said.
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Old 08-08-05, 09:52 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kuan
In downtown Minneapolis, for example:

That is positively horrible! All a cyclist needs is a extra wide lane so that they can, if they are fast enough, ride with traffic taking the lane, or, if they are slower, ride along the right side allowing traffic to easily pass.
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Old 08-08-05, 10:46 PM   #24
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Get your ass out of Texas! Post haste! The state deserves all the pickup driving rednecks it can handle! Let them drink oil!
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Old 08-08-05, 11:47 PM   #25
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Ah, Texas isn't so bad!
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