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  1. #1
    Arrogant Safety Nanny
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    Where to ride here?

    See google maps street view below...

    http://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&ie...6,0.01177&z=17

    I've seen people riding in the gutter, and cars can pass them while squeezing the cyclist against the curb and staying in the right lane. Personally I don't feel that's safe and when I'm riding here I'll ride either in the right tire track or between the tire tracks to make sure motorists know they have to move to the other lane to pass me. I get yelled at sometimes, most recently I had a lady in a Dodge Ram with a Hemi spin the tires and start sliding sideways as she was trying to pass me. I've also had a police officer tell me i should ride further to the right while taking the lane here but he didn't pull me over. Speed limit is 30mph and I'm usually doing 15-20mph. I ride a Trek 7.2FX with 2 rear facing Dinotte 140Ls on 5-flash mode and a whole lot of reflectors and DOT C2 reflective tape and always wear high vis/reflective clothing.

  2. #2
    12mph+ commuter
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    I'd definitely ride in the right tire track or the center of the lane on a road like that. But, it looks like you have quite a few options for parallel streets, are these less desirable?

  3. #3
    Conservative Hippie
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    I would do just what you're doing. That lane isn't wide enough to safely share.

    As for the yellers and particularly the woman with the Dodge, some people just like to show how stupid they are. They have another same direction lane in which to pass.

  4. #4
    Arrogant Safety Nanny
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scheherezade View Post
    I'd definitely ride in the right tire track or the center of the lane on a road like that. But, it looks like you have quite a few options for parallel streets, are these less desirable?
    Most of the parallel streets have many stop signs and/or many parked cars. I believe in obeying stop signs, and I feel that blocking the whole lane on a street with only one lane in each direction is worse than blocking a lane on a street with 2 lanes in each direction. Sometimes I'll take the side roads when it fits but frequently this main street is the best route for me and I don't feel I should have to take another route that is going to take more time just to avoid abuse.

  5. #5
    Arrogant Safety Nanny
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    Quote Originally Posted by CommuterRun View Post
    I would do just what you're doing. That lane isn't wide enough to safely share.

    As for the yellers and particularly the woman with the Dodge, some people just like to show how stupid they are. They have another same direction lane in which to pass.
    Any suggestions on what to do about the people that ride in the gutter? I think these are actually worse than the people that ride on the sidewalk (illegally...there's a municipal code making it illegal to ride on the sidewalk in a business or residential area within city limits). The cyclists in the gutter make the motorists think it's ok to pass a bicycle in the right lane while sharing the lane with them.

    Is there anything that can be done to discourage people from riding in the gutter?

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by JeffB502 View Post
    Is there anything that can be done to discourage people from riding in the gutter?
    glass from broken bottles, rusty nails, debris, storm drains, what more discouragment do you need??

  7. #7
    Arrogant Safety Nanny
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    Oh and here's the picture for those that didn't want to click on the link...

  8. #8
    Arrogant Safety Nanny
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    Quote Originally Posted by xenologer View Post
    glass from broken bottles, rusty nails, debris, storm drains, what more discouragment do you need??
    lol yeah the storm drains are enough for me...I just don't understand how everybody else I see riding a bike on this road is in the gutter. I'm the only person I've ever seen riding on the asphalt. Most of the people on bikes I see here are on the sidewalk even though it's illegal.

  9. #9
    Arrogant Safety Nanny
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    Here's another really obvious example from in town. Miller St just south of Battles Rd. This is a "bike lane" with no bike lane signs but painted as if it's a bike lane (dashed before intersections, double thick white line for its length). They actually repaved/relined this road recently without the "bike lane" and I was able to take the lane with no problem. As soon as they put these "bike lane" lines in I get honked at/yelled at for riding in the same position as I was able to ride in with no problem previously.
    http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=e....1673777922998
    Image:

  10. #10
    Arrogant Safety Nanny
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    Oh and here's an email I just sent to publicworks@ci.santa-maria.ca.us
    Hi, I just want to point out some problems I've noticed with the bike lanes around town.

    First so I know we're all on the same page, the 2006 California combined MUTCD requires bike lanes be at least 3 feet from the edge of the gutter pan, and a minimum of 4 feet from the curb (if the gutter pan is less than 1' wide).

    The first example I've seen of the city in violation is on this thread, see post #9: Where to ride here?
    It's not actually signed as a bike lane, but it's pretty obvious what the intent is. This violation is located at Miller St just south of Battles, and was re-painted after the law cited was codified. Another violation is the bike lane on Hidden Pines Way between Railroad and Preisker Ln. I'm sure if I've noticed these 2 there are others.

    For background information I recently became an adult transportational/recreational cyclist as of April of 2007, and since then I've put over 4500 miles on my bicycles, mostly within Santa Maria city limits. I've found most motorists are cooperative, but frequently people do not understand the rules of the road as they relate to bicycles.

    The recent modification of the traffic circles directing cyclists in the bike lane to go onto the sidewalk then walk their bicycles is also offensive to me. Generally I merge left into the lane going in the direction I am planning on heading (more frequently the left most lane if I'm going straight or turning left at the circle) prior to the "bike lane end" point and navigate the traffic circle as a vehicle, but I feel the new markings make those that aren't aware of the law think that bicycles MUST move to the sidewalk.

    On more than one occasion while riding in the center of the right lane on Broadway I've had motorists yell at me to "get on the sidewalk" even though riding on the sidewalk in that area would be in violation of the Santa Maria municipal code. The penalty for violating that section of the municipal code was recently reduced from a misdemeanor to an infraction, but I still feel it is my duty to obey the law, and even if it were legal for me to ride on the sidewalk it would be dangerous for me to do 15-20mph on the sidewalk, especially at driveways.

    Recently I was driving my truck, and while pulling out of a driveway I looked left and looked right for pedestrians, looked left and saw traffic was clear, let off the brake and started lifting off the clutch, started to hit the gas as I was coasting down the driveway, looked forward, and saw a wrong-way helmet-less sidewalk riding cyclist directly in front of my bumper. I stomped the clutch and the brake and just managed to not hit him. He looked at me like I WAS IN THE WRONG! I was so shocked I couldn't even yell at him to "GET ON THE ROAD" or honk my horn at him for his illegal operation of his vehicle.

    I'd like to see some kind of public education campaign to encourage cyclists to ride on the road as vehicles, and to obey the law regarding operating bicycles on sidewalks in residential and business districts. I'd like to get some feedback on this, and see the city comply with the California MUTCD regarding the implementation of bicycle facilities.

    I appreciate what's been done for cyclists in the city, and I also love to see road designs like the new Battles Rd. bike lanes west of the railroad tracks. Even though it's a 45mph 5 lane road the extra wide bike lanes are great, as long as they're cleaned by street sweepers on a regular basis. I'd like to see that as the new standard arterial road design for the city, and I'd actually be surprised if it isn't.

    Thanks for your service, and have a great day,
    Jeff
    I've been thinking about all this for a long time...just took that bottle of wine I drank earlier for me to type it all out lol. Any ideas on how I may better interact with the people with the city that can actually get things done? I work strange hours (thus my being awake at 3:20am) so unfortunately I can't make it to most city council meetings/bike club meetings.

  11. #11
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    Is it an illusion or is the right lane much wider than the left? To my eye, it looks like you could be in the dark gray section (not in the gutter) and vehicles would generally still have room to safely pass with 3+ feet to spare? Or they would have to slow up a bit to wait for an opportunity to pass.

    Either way, from the looks of it, I would position myself there. If this road was in my area (Minneapolis suburbs, which I know is different from most places) and I was riding between right tire track and gutter, I don't think there would be a problem at all. I guess I'm in the minority -- taking the lane here doesn't look necessary to safely coexist with motorized vehicles just from the photos.

  12. #12
    ♋ ☮♂ ☭ ☯ -=(8)=-'s Avatar
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    Hmmmmm.......not one person on the sidewalks in the foto or Streetview option
    I looked at. The answer is obvious

  13. #13
    1973 Sekine dogbreathpnw's Avatar
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    My sympathy. I have a similar problem near where I live. Even though the parallel streets in your case look to be quieter, the issues involved with stop signs (and/or no traffic lights) probably more than offset their advantages, since most of the risk to cyclists from motorists is at intersections.

    I agree with your approach, which is to ride far enough away from the curb that the unconscious risk-benefit analysis by the motorist morphs from "pass cyclist closely and get there faster" to "risk collision with a lane change or wait until it's safe."

    In Oregon we have an aggressive passing law; on a street like this a motorist would be required to leave enough room so that--if a cyclist were to fall--his vehicle would completely miss the cyclist. Since there are multiple lanes in your direction of travel, an Oregon driver is effectively expected to cede the entire lane to you.

    I'm not sure what the issue is in California. Just be safe.
    When was the last time a bicyclist fell asleep at the wheel and killed a family of four? It's the motorists that are the problem.

  14. #14
    Arrogant Safety Nanny
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    Quote Originally Posted by dogbreathpnw
    My sympathy. I have a similar problem near where I live. Even though the parallel streets in your case look to be quieter, the issues involved with stop signs (and/or no traffic lights) probably more than offset their advantages, since most of the risk to cyclists from motorists is at intersections.

    I agree with your approach, which is to ride far enough away from the curb that the unconscious risk-benefit analysis by the motorist morphs from "pass cyclist closely and get there faster" to "risk collision with a lane change or wait until it's safe."

    In Oregon we have an aggressive passing law; on a street like this a motorist would be required to leave enough room so that--if a cyclist were to fall--his vehicle would completely miss the cyclist. Since there are multiple lanes in your direction of travel, an Oregon driver is effectively expected to cede the entire lane to you.

    I'm not sure what the issue is in California. Just be safe.
    Yeah we definitely have the same situation. An outside lane slightly wider than a standard lane but not wide enough to safely share side by side, especially with full size pick up trucks/SUVs and larger commercial vehicles. Here's another example: Click here to navigate via Google Maps street view



    This one is actually a signed Class III bike route. Speed limit is 40mph. Notice the gratuitous use of Bott's dots and the heavy pavement damage in the right tire track in the right lane due to the large number of heavy trucks that use this road. The right lane is again slightly wider than the left lane, providing the illusion to motorists that I should be in the gutter to allow them to pass in the same lane even though there's not enough room. If I do ride on this road it's usually between the tire tracks since that's the only part of the lane with pavement in good enough shape to ride a bike on. When I first started riding I saw a bike route map and saw this street was part of it...scared the hell out of me when I was new, and I'd still rather not ride it now if I can find an alternate route.

    Here's the California law
    21750. The driver of a vehicle overtaking another vehicle or a bicycle proceeding in the same direction shall pass to the left at a safe distance without interfering with the safe operation of the overtaken vehicle or bicycle, subject to the limitations and exceptions hereinafter stated.
    Seems pretty vague to me. Pretty much a "no harm no foul" law...no recourse if I don't get hit since the motorist could argue they didn't "interfere with the safe operation" of my vehicle, but if I did get hit by somebody that was passing me they'd probably have to have been violating this law.

    I guess the law would vary based on the police officer's definition of "safe distance." Since violation of this law is only an infraction it would have to be committed in a peace officer's presence for any action to be taken, and even then the penalty would only be a fine unless the driver did something stupid like refuse to sign the ticket, lol.

    Quote Originally Posted by -=Łem in Pa=-
    Hmmmmm.......not one person on the sidewalks in the foto or Streetview option
    I looked at. The answer is obvious
    If you're suggesting riding on the sidewalk that would be a bad idea considering the number of driveways and the fact that it's illegal. Also from a motorist's point of view every close call I can remember having where I almost hit a bike involved me exiting a driveway in a motor vehicle and the cyclist riding on the sidewalk in front of my bumper, just like in paragraph 7 of my letter to the city.

    Quote Originally Posted by MSPD
    Is it an illusion or is the right lane much wider than the left? To my eye, it looks like you could be in the dark gray section (not in the gutter) and vehicles would generally still have room to safely pass with 3+ feet to spare? Or they would have to slow up a bit to wait for an opportunity to pass.

    Either way, from the looks of it, I would position myself there. If this road was in my area (Minneapolis suburbs, which I know is different from most places) and I was riding between right tire track and gutter, I don't think there would be a problem at all. I guess I'm in the minority -- taking the lane here doesn't look necessary to safely coexist with motorized vehicles just from the photos.
    Well I wouldn't say the right lane is "much" wider but it is a couple of feet wider. I've been wanting to go measure it one of these nights I'm awake at 3am and nobody's on the road to see exactly how wide that right lane is. A couple of other states "take the lane" laws specify 14 feet as the widest lane that a cyclist can legally ride in the middle of. California just says the cyclist can take the lane when it would be unsafe for the cyclist and a motor vehicle to be operated side by side within the lane.

    I don't think there would be space for a car to give a cyclist a full 3 feet if the cyclist were riding in that section between the right tire track and the gutter. When the cyclist is physically in the gutter (and I mean when their tire is on concrete, not asphalt) people will usually drive by in the same lane with some semblance of clearance, but there's no margin for error. I cringe every time I see this happen picturing the cyclist making a slight error or having to swerve to avoid something and getting run over by the motorist trying to share the lane with them. When I'm driving my truck (a Ford Ranger...fairly skinny as far as trucks go) even if the cyclist is in the gutter I'll change lanes to pass since I am always picturing worst case scenarios and I like to leave enough space for the situation mentioned by dogbreathpnw.

    Also that darker strip between the right tire track and the gutter is older pavement. I haven't tried riding on it so I don't know how rough it is, but it's obvious the last time the road was re-paved they just re-paved the high traffic portion of the lane and didn't put fresh pavement all the way to the gutter pan. There's a small rough lip between the right tire track and the gutter pan (closer to the tire track) where a cyclist can see the new/old pavement transition, but a motorist could easily fail to see.

  15. #15
    smatte
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    Look how flat everything is. You must be able to ride forever on that. Oh yeah, take the whole right lane, it's the only safe thing to do.

  16. #16
    Senior Member gcottay's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JeffB502 View Post
    . . . . As soon as they put these "bike lane" lines in I get honked at/yelled at for riding in the same position as I was able to ride in with no problem previously . . . [/IMG]
    For me, this is a excellent example of a inappropriate bike lane being worse than nothing at all and well worth reporting to the responsible agency as a safety hazard.
    George
    Laissez les bon temps rouler

  17. #17
    Arrogant Safety Nanny
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    Quote Originally Posted by srmatte View Post
    Look how flat everything is. You must be able to ride forever on that. Oh yeah, take the whole right lane, it's the only safe thing to do.
    Yeah it was great when I first started commuting and was horribly out of shape. Even with it being that flat I could only ride 2 or 3 miles at a time when I first started out. Now you're right; I could ride pretty much forever, except with all the flatness we're cursed with wind, usually at least 10-15mph steady/gusting into the 20s or higher sometimes, in the afternoon when the ocean breeze picks up. My commutes are pretty much all flat but I've started doing some longer recreational rides outside of town...that's where the hills are .

    Quote Originally Posted by gcottay View Post
    For me, this is a excellent example of a inappropriate bike lane being worse than nothing at all and well worth reporting to the responsible agency as a safety hazard.
    Yep, already reported. One of the city senior civil engineers actually responded and said they have an outside consultant, http://www.altaplanning.com/, working on updating the Bikeway Master Plan and the consultants have already informed the city of many bike lane problems, including the ones I mentioned. He said he'll send me an email when they schedule a public meeting once the first draft of the bikeway master plan is presentable.

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