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Old 11-05-08, 12:41 PM   #1
ROJA
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Why are bike lanes often put right next to parked cars?

This seems like the *least* safe place to ride, since you can get doored very easily. See this video for an example (and the advice that these bike lanes should be avoided): http://www.cyclistview.com/innertube/lanecontrolslo.htm
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Old 11-05-08, 12:49 PM   #2
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Because the guys that design roads don't ride bikes.

Really.

The document that is used as a guideline for street markings tells civil engineers where to put bike lanes. The laws in nearly every state tell motorists that they are responsible for what happens when they open car doors... so civil engineers figure that bike lanes can be placed close to parked cars as motorists are "responsible citizens."

The reality is that motorists don't look, door zone bike lanes are dangerous for cyclists, and experienced cyclists know this. But apparently civil engineers are not experienced cyclists.
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Old 11-05-08, 01:54 PM   #3
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Because the guys that design roads don't ride bikes.
Exactly. A cyclist would never design the paths we have around here, they have a stop sign every 100 feet. Some of the newer ones seem to have some cyclist input.

Although the situation the OP describes has never been done here. As a matter of fact, they have wiped out hundreds of parking spaces in the last year.

Putting a bike path in the door zone is way too common, and any idiot should be able to tell it's not going to work.
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Old 11-05-08, 02:16 PM   #4
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Warrington Cycle campaign cycling facility of the month

http://homepage.ntlworld.com/pete.me...-of-the-month/
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Old 11-06-08, 02:11 PM   #5
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I agree. Around where I live there aren't a whole lot of them, but in the city there are. I try to avoid them when ever possible. But there are a few streets that I have to ride on with bike lanes. These streets are quite busy during the daytime with car doors constantly swinging open. It would be dangerous and downright stupid of me to be riding in the bike lane. I just move out further into the lane, sometimes pissing off motorists, but it's better than being dead.
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Old 11-06-08, 03:27 PM   #6
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It's unfortunate, especially for us, but it's pretty much the only option.

The bike lane has to go either on the far right or the far left of the flow of traffic. I don't think anyone would want it to be in between lanes. On the far left would actually be great in some ways, e.g. greater separation between cars moving opposite directions, theoretically less traffic next to you (assuming drivers follow the "stay to the right unless passing" rule), but would require repainting everything and would make it so that the faster traffic is right beside the cyclist. Also, oncoming cyclists would pass right beside you, and we all know that there are a lot of wobbly riders out there.

Don't get me wrong, I don't like them being in the door zone, but it's probably the best place. Personally, I think that they should do away with parallel-style on-street parking in areas with a lot of bikes because of this problem. Slanted parking would work much better in terms of safety (though not in terms of efficient usage of space), with no door zone and a good indication of danger: reverse lights. As a bonus, the little triangles at the ends of slanted-parking zones are a good place for motorcycle and/or bicycle parking. This, of course, assumes that the roadway is wide enough to begin with.

I just whiteline it or take the lane.
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Old 11-06-08, 09:12 PM   #7
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Try asking car drivers with limited parking to give up their parking spaces for a bike lane, it won't happen very often. The politicians (planning, zoning, transportation board members and such) who have to approve such changes just will not accept upsetting large and frequently vocal portions of the voting public.
Joe "the shopkeeper" says that if he loses the only parking in front of his store then nobody will shop there. He will say that each space in front of his store is work $100K of business each year. He won't say that his car is always parked in front of the store.
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Old 11-06-08, 11:37 PM   #8
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It's unfortunate, especially for us, but it's pretty much the only option.

The bike lane has to go either on the far right or the far left of the flow of traffic. I don't think anyone would want it to be in between lanes. On the far left would actually be great in some ways, e.g. greater separation between cars moving opposite directions, theoretically less traffic next to you (assuming drivers follow the "stay to the right unless passing" rule), but would require repainting everything and would make it so that the faster traffic is right beside the cyclist. Also, oncoming cyclists would pass right beside you, and we all know that there are a lot of wobbly riders out there.

Don't get me wrong, I don't like them being in the door zone, but it's probably the best place. Personally, I think that they should do away with parallel-style on-street parking in areas with a lot of bikes because of this problem. Slanted parking would work much better in terms of safety (though not in terms of efficient usage of space), with no door zone and a good indication of danger: reverse lights. As a bonus, the little triangles at the ends of slanted-parking zones are a good place for motorcycle and/or bicycle parking. This, of course, assumes that the roadway is wide enough to begin with.

I just whiteline it or take the lane.

As far as I'm concerned, door zone bike lanes are great as a buffer zone for motorists exiting their cars, but worthless when it comes to their original intention as a lane for bicyclists. I don't agree that it's the best place to be, I've white lined it, I've also taken the lane many a time to avoid possible and actual door openings, but while some motorists may understand my motive, many others do not. Unless it's an obvious obstruction of the bike lane, it seems that many motorists become enraged when I happen to ride on the edge or just outside of a bike lane. Crossing that white line seems almost like waving a red cape at a bullfight.
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Old 11-07-08, 07:25 AM   #9
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This seems like the *least* safe place to ride, since you can get doored very easily. See this video for an example (and the advice that these bike lanes should be avoided): http://www.cyclistview.com/innertube/lanecontrolslo.htm
Because bike facilities are an afterthought and the city just wants to advertise xx miles of bike lanes.
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Old 11-07-08, 02:53 PM   #10
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Why are bike lanes often put right next to parked cars?
Because a bike lane's purpose is to make motoring more convenient for motorists rather than cyclists.
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Old 11-07-08, 02:54 PM   #11
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Don't get me wrong, I don't like them being in the door zone, but it's probably the best place. Personally, I think that they should do away with parallel-style on-street parking in areas with a lot of bikes because of this problem. Slanted parking would work much better in terms of safety (though not in terms of efficient usage of space), with no door zone and a good indication of danger: reverse lights. As a bonus, the little triangles at the ends of slanted-parking zones are a good place for motorcycle and/or bicycle parking. This, of course, assumes that the roadway is wide enough to begin with.
I dunno... the angles parking seems to have it's own problems of the driver's totally being unable to see you around the other parked cars as they leave. And from that position the only way they can even see cars oncoming is to roll the car out by a foot or two; right into where the bike lane is.
Scary having to swerve out into traffic when one does this right in front of you and you were riding just in front of a car...
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Old 11-07-08, 03:31 PM   #12
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I dunno... the angles parking seems to have it's own problems of the driver's totally being unable to see you around the other parked cars as they leave. And from that position the only way they can even see cars oncoming is to roll the car out by a foot or two; right into where the bike lane is.
Scary having to swerve out into traffic when one does this right in front of you and you were riding just in front of a car...
True indeed, they do present that problem. I just personally prefer seeing back-up lights to having no warning from a door. In the end though, it's probably six to one, half-dozen to the other when you look at preferences of all cyclists.
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Old 11-08-08, 11:47 PM   #13
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Because bike facilities are an afterthought and the city just wants to advertise xx miles of bike lanes.
+1

To add bike lanes that aren't in the door zone, cities would have to either eliminate parking on one side of the street or widen the streets. No one wants to give up parking, and widening streets is expensive and time consuming at a minimum and impossible in many cases. Ironically, it's that very shortage of parking and narrow, congested streets that motivate people to bike instead. Novice cyclists often don't realize the door zone is so dangerous, and would rather ride 2 feet from a parked car than 2 feet from a moving vehicle. If the recent increase in bike commuters is more than just a passing fad and cities commit to more "afterthought" bike lanes to appease them, bike-lane associated accidents and deaths will sadly rise.

For my favorite perspective on Cambridge, Mass's mess of door zone lanes, see this article. An excerpt:
"Rather than the universal symbol for bicycle lanes (a mini bike in a circle stenciled to the pavement), the cyclist continues, "Maybe a skull-and-crossbones would be more appropriate."
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Old 11-09-08, 12:20 AM   #14
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Because bike facilities are an afterthought and the city just wants to advertise xx miles of bike lanes.
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Because a bike lane's purpose is to make motoring more convenient for motorists rather than cyclists.
Plus bike lane advocates refuse to fight against them. After all, even the worst bike lane shows that bikes belong.
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Old 11-09-08, 08:22 AM   #15
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There is a simple way to enhance the safety of every street with angled parking: restripe it for back-in or "reverse" angle parking. This is much better for everyone.

Narrow door-zone bike lanes are a fundamental misapplication of traffic engineering practice. I deal with the wider (1.5 m / 5 ft or more) ones by riding near the left margin. (Don't get me started on bike lanes to the right of right-turn-permitted or right-turn-only lanes!)
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Old 11-09-08, 09:53 AM   #16
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Plus bike lane advocates refuse to fight against them. After all, even the worst bike lane shows that bikes belong.
No, cycling advocates do fight against such bike lanes. Bad bike lanes are bad, period. However making a claim that "all bike lanes now and in the future are bad" is a bit Machiavellian too. (this indeed was a claim made many times here by a certain vehicular cycling advocate)

The biggest problem that cycling advocates fight is a combination of standards that allow such BL to be built, and politicians that refuse to actually accept cycling, while commanding photo ops for stupid designs.

I personally have fought (and won) against bad bike lanes and I happen to know John E has too.
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Old 11-09-08, 10:33 AM   #17
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The biggest problem that cycling advocates fight is a combination of standards that allow such BL to be built, and politicians that refuse to actually accept cycling, while commanding photo ops for stupid designs.
Don't forget having fellow cyclists who use bad bike lanes as justifications to fight against all bike lanes.
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Old 11-09-08, 01:00 PM   #18
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No, cycling advocates do fight against such bike lanes. Bad bike lanes are bad, period. However making a claim that "all bike lanes now and in the future are bad" is a bit Machiavellian too. (this indeed was a claim made many times here by a certain vehicular cycling advocate)

The biggest problem that cycling advocates fight is a combination of standards that allow such BL to be built, and politicians that refuse to actually accept cycling, while commanding photo ops for stupid designs.

I personally have fought (and won) against bad bike lanes and I happen to know John E has too.
We are talking door zone bike lanes in this thread. Are you somehow trying to imply some door zone bike lanes are OK?

What bad bike lane will Bek fight against?
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Old 11-10-08, 08:05 AM   #19
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We are talking door zone bike lanes in this thread. Are you somehow trying to imply some door zone bike lanes are OK?

What bad bike lane will Bek fight against?
Never met a door zone bike lane I liked. My solution was to fight for no parking in the area... which had a precedent in that most of the route was already no parking.

I have no idea what bike lanes Bek objects to.

What bike lanes might YOU consider usable?
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Old 11-10-08, 10:00 AM   #20
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What bike lanes might YOU consider usable?

A narrow right lane IS a bike lane, and it is plenty usable!
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Old 11-10-08, 10:16 AM   #21
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Because they are designed by fools. Don't use them, and write to your county council to have them removed.
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Old 11-10-08, 10:44 AM   #22
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Never met a door zone bike lane I liked. My solution was to fight for no parking in the area... which had a precedent in that most of the route was already no parking.

I have no idea what bike lanes Bek objects to.

What bike lanes might YOU consider usable?
Most of the VC group, including me, have repeated here on several occasions, including an entire thread that I am pretty sure you participated in; an acceptable bike lane (that we would not fight against):

6 foot wide, with few to no driveways, ends 100-200 yards before intersections (preferably with sharrows) and is swept on a regular basis

Back in the old days, we use to call these break down lanes. Then places like Boulder and Portland started painting funny little men in them and saying, see how bike friendly we are, we should get some type of award. And some fearful cyclist cheered and said, they really do love us.
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Old 11-10-08, 10:56 AM   #23
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Most of the VC group, including me, have repeated here on several occasions, including an entire thread that I am pretty sure you participated in; an acceptable bike lane (that we would not fight against):

6 foot wide, with few to no driveways, ends 100-200 yards before intersections (preferably with sharrows) and is swept on a regular basis

Back in the old days, we use to call these break down lanes. Then places like Boulder and Portland started painting funny little men in them and saying, see how bike friendly we are, we should get some type of award. And some fearful cyclist cheered and said, they really do love us.
Sounds good to me... hey if we get rid of the intersections then we are right on the verge of a limited access freeway. Hey, get rid of the cars and you have a bike freeway... just like this.
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Old 11-10-08, 08:58 PM   #24
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Sounds good to me... hey if we get rid of the intersections then we are right on the verge of a limited access freeway. Hey, get rid of the cars and you have a bike freeway... just like this.
Yea, a bike freeway with pedestrians, dogs and talkers blocking the freeway. I think they call those MUPs. And they still have intersections. Sort of OK if you like limiting your speed to 10 mph.

Oops, I forgot that you have already advocated low speeds for cyclist.
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Old 11-11-08, 10:43 AM   #25
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Yea, a bike freeway with pedestrians, dogs and talkers blocking the freeway. I think they call those MUPs. And they still have intersections. Sort of OK if you like limiting your speed to 10 mph.

Oops, I forgot that you have already advocated low speeds for cyclist.
No, I've just said that achieving top speed all the time is just not practical.

And for what it's worth, I typically ride 20MPH average speed on my local bike highway/MUP. On the local streets I average about 14MPH, due to the stops and need to "trust, but verify" the intentions of motorists.
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