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Old 10-10-05, 11:13 PM   #1
mac
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The wisdom of my city council is manifested in bike lanes on the same street as my local high school & mall. The problem is that the street, when full of parked cars, is already somewhat narrow, especially with the large SUVs in both lanes. These new bike lanes only squeeze the cars closer together and put the cyclist in an awkward position at right-turns. The bike lane is on the right, but as you approach the intersection, there is a sign that says bicyclists must yield to cars, then the bike lane splits to the left so we have: center divider, #1 lane, #2 lane, bike lane, right-turn lane. This means the bicyclist, being in the proper bike lane, is now wedged between 3 cars/trucks/SUVs at the stop light. It would have been much better to just not put any bike lanes in to begin with and have bicyclists merge behind the cars in the #2 lane while waiting for the light.

These new bike lanes seem to make cycling around the mall and high school more dangerous, which is the exact opposite intention (unless you are cynical and believe the city council was just trying to win brownie points for being "environmentally friendly"). Would I get in trouble if I did not use them?
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Old 10-10-05, 11:24 PM   #2
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That "Bicyclists Must Yield To Cars" sign might be illegal in California/
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Old 10-11-05, 12:12 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by mac
The problem is that the street, when full of parked cars, is already somewhat narrow, especially with the large SUVs in both lanes. These new bike lanes only squeeze the cars closer together and put the cyclist in an awkward position at right-turns. Would I get in trouble if I did not use them?
--- Do you mean legal trouble? If you're cited for doing whatever is safest for you, it would be hard for the judge to rule against your right to self-preservation.
What is the speed limit of this street with the poorly designed bike lanes?
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Old 10-11-05, 01:51 AM   #4
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Since it's in front of a school, I guess it's 25. And the mall is only a block away so I'd guess 30 - 35 tops. I think they put it in thinking that the kids are going to ride their bikes from school to the mall... Nevermind that these kids all drive the 1 whole block to the mall...
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Old 10-11-05, 02:48 AM   #5
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Could you get cited? Yes. Would it stand up in court? I don't know (and unless you talk to an LA lawyer who does traffic cases, you'll never know the answer to that). You have to decide whether it's worth the risk of citation to make yourself safer.

Look around to see if LA has a cyclist advocacy group. See if they will help you lobby the city to change the sign at least ("Cars must yield to Cyclists" would be nice).

Last edited by Daily Commute; 10-12-05 at 12:21 PM.
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Old 10-11-05, 04:10 AM   #6
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assuming that the bike lane does not require cyclists to ride in the "door zone" too close to the parked cars, the whole thing sounds "ok" to me except for one glaring exception: there is a sign that says bicyclists must yield to cars
NO! the bike lane continues straight and the right turning cars must YEILD to the cyclists! not sure if it helps much, but in Portland OR and Montreal these "conflict" areas are painter red (Portland) or blue (Montreal) to help draw auto driver's attention that they need to yeild to cyclists.

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This means the bicyclist, being in the proper bike lane, is now wedged between 3 cars/trucks/SUVs at the stop light.
i don't see that as a problem. actually it's almost better as there is no chance of the "right-hook" as the cars that want to turn right are already to the right of the cyclist (at the light). the problem is BEFORE the light when the right-turning cars must cross the path of the cyclists.

IF there really is this "bikes yield to cars sign" then yes, i think it would have been safer/easier for cyclists w/o the bike lane. but, it is "correct" right-turn lane to be to the right of the bike lane!
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Old 10-11-05, 04:39 AM   #7
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This lane presents a typical problem with bike lanes. Despite what some may think, I am not an opponent of all bike lanes. I am an opponent of stupid bike lanes.

The problem is that cities put them where they don't belong (roads with speed limits <35 mph), won't make them wide enough, put them in door zones or gutters, and create stupid rules ("Bicyclists Must Yield To Cars").

If your city wants to build a lane, before celebrating, demand to see the design.
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Old 10-11-05, 10:27 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daily Commute
I am an opponent of stupid bike lanes. [cut]

If your city wants to build a lane, before celebrating, demand to see the design.
I too am an opponent of stupid bike lanes, and unfortunately far to many stupid designs get implemented. That is why I am on initial stance, against bike lanes, unless a detailed foot by foot design of the specifc lane in question is presented, then it can be reviewed to determine if it not stupid.

Unfortunately it seems that 'foot by foot' designs can not be created until after a go ahead is given to put a bike lane in place. So one must rely on generalizations to say no, like no to any BL on a flat 25mph road.

Al
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Old 10-11-05, 11:26 AM   #9
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mac, you asked whether you could get into trouble for not using this poorly designed bike lane. Here's the Vehicle Code section on point:

Quote:
Originally Posted by California Vehicle Code 21208
21208. (a) Whenever a bicycle lane has been established on a roadway
pursuant to Section 21207, any person operating a bicycle upon the roadway at
a speed less than the normal speed of traffic moving in the same direction at
that time shall ride within the bicycle lane, except that the person may move
out of the lane under any of the following situations:
(1) When overtaking and passing another bicycle, vehicle, or pedestrian
within the lane or about to enter the lane if the overtaking and passing
cannot be done safely within the lane.
(2) When preparing for a left turn at an intersection or into a private
road or driveway.
(3) When reasonably necessary to leave the bicycle lane to avoid debris or
other hazardous conditions.

(4) When approaching a place where a right turn is authorized.
(b) No person operating a bicycle shall leave a bicycle lane until the
movement can be made with reasonable safety and then only after giving an
appropriate signal in the manner provided in Chapter 6 (commencing with
Section 22100) in the event that any vehicle may be affected by the movement.
If I were given a ticket in your situation, I'd argue that the bike lane itself is a hazardous condition.
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Old 10-11-05, 12:06 PM   #10
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Um, sorry dude but that sounds like perfect good sense to me.
The narrow streets are the ones i want bike lanes painted and the lane marking seems a bit excessive but is exactly the way i've ridden traffic and the way most city cyclists will move in lanes. That you're wedged between cars just means your in traffic... no different without the lane.
And if you sit behind another car on the left side of the bike lane paint, then you won't get wedged and can't get tix... if there's no room between there's no room between.

Hey, i wish that all roads had bike lanes, but that they were 8" wide. I don't need the 3 foot wide lane and when i wish i had it it's on a road that can't support an extra 3' width anyway. I just want the paint there to remind people that i'm supposed to be there too and how to pass me.
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Old 10-11-05, 04:12 PM   #11
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It sound like this location would have been a better candidate for shared lane markings:

http://www.csmonitor.com/2005/0831/p14s02-ussc.html

http://www.bicycle.sfgov.org/site/up...ort-052404.pdf

These markings encourage cyclists to ride farther from parked cars and remind other road users that cyclists are expected and entitled to operate well into the lane. The available research indicates that they improve passing distances and get cyclists to ride farther from parked cars.

Much better than using a stripe to imply that there is always room to squeeeeze by on a narrow street.

-Steve
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Old 10-12-05, 07:56 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sggoodri
It sound like this location would have been a better candidate for shared lane markings:
--- Yes, if the city council LOWERED the speed limit on that street past the school and mall to (posted) 15mph, then autos and bicycles could both share the lane with no need for bike lanes.
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Old 10-12-05, 08:10 PM   #13
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I think a designated 'slot' for bikes at intersections is preferable to merge or filter. Not every intersection, i'm sure. But it sure makes good sense to me. Especially for populist cycling.
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Old 10-12-05, 10:18 PM   #14
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I oppose bike lanes on slow streets. I oppose bike lanes in door zones. I oppose bike lanes to the right of right-turn-only or right-turn-optional lanes. However, I have no objection to bike lanes between through lanes and right-turn-only lanes, which it sounds as though you have. The best way to handle the "weave," in which right-turning motorists and straight-traveling bicyclists have to cross paths with each other, is either to turn a section of the bike lane into the head of the right-turn lane or to widen the street, adding the right-turn-only lane on approach. In either case, through cyclists must exercise extreme caution, even when they have the right-of-way. It also helps immensely to set up all right-turn-only lanes as hard, tight-radius, right-angle bends, instead of freeway-style diverges.
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