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,