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Advocacy & Safety Cyclists should expect and demand safe accommodation on every public road, just as do all other users. Discuss your bicycle advocacy and safety concerns here.

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Old 12-10-08, 05:50 AM   #1
Kevin666
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Paint

To be honest, I don't think a whole system of designated bike lanes on every road will ever be practical or gain either popular support or dollars, at least in our lifetimes.

But I did have thoughts regarding what might be called "reserved when present" bicycle space. Wherever there is a right lane, half of it is painted to indicate that it's reserved for cyclists when cyclists are present. All other times, vehicles can use them as regular lanes.

If nothing else, this would send a legal and visual message to drivers that cyclists have the right to the road, and would provide a visual guideline for passing space.

It wouldn't require the same restructuring of our roads that designated bicyle lanes would require. All it would require is a lot of paint, probably a different color than yellow or white. Of course, there will still be issues and obstacles, such as 2 lane highways, rules for intersections, etc., but I think something resembling it might be a practical compromise.

And of course if new roads are built, perhaps they should have designated space for bike lanes to facilitate flow of traffic.

If there is already information out there on this approach, I would appreciate links. Otherwise, I hope for a heated discussion and/or brainstorming session.
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Old 12-10-08, 06:15 AM   #2
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I'm not sure what the difference is between what you're proposing and what are called "sharrows", other than the visual cue.
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Old 12-10-08, 09:36 AM   #3
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Or, you could just make the right lane 11 feet wide. Presto! An 11' bike lane that all road users can access.

Public roads already exist, and unlike bike lanes and separated infrastructure, they conveniently go nearly everywhere! The rules for operating on them are widely and universally known as well. What's not to like?
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Old 12-10-08, 10:10 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by ChipSeal View Post
Or, you could just make the right lane 11 feet wide.
You really need more like 14 feet or more (16 feet would be good):

8 feet for the motor vehicle (not including mirrors)
3 feet clear to the bike
1.5 to 2 feet for the bike (handlebar width)
another 3 feet to clear the door zone / provide space for avoiding road debris

presto, 16 feet.
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Old 12-10-08, 10:19 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by moleman76 View Post
You really need more like 14 feet or more (16 feet would be good):

8 feet for the motor vehicle (not including mirrors)
3 feet clear to the bike
1.5 to 2 feet for the bike (handlebar width)
another 3 feet to clear the door zone / provide space for avoiding road debris

presto, 16 feet.
Your talking about sharing the lane with motor traffic. Chip is talking about a cyclist using the full lane. Both work well when conditions are appropriate.
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Old 12-10-08, 09:03 PM   #6
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Agreed, this is like sharrows with a background color.

I think the practical problem with the idea, based on what I've heard from our city engineer, is the amount of paint would probably be prohibitively expensive, especially in areas like the Midwest and New England which get lots of snow and ice in winter. The sand, salt, and plowing the roads are subjected to means that most painting has to be redone every few years at least.

Ideologically, in my opinion, this would still send the same wrong message as bike lanes: bikes belong here in this limited space, not the entire road.

Creative suggestion, though.
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Old 12-11-08, 08:28 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by ChipSeal View Post
Or, you could just make the right lane 11 feet wide. Presto! An 11' bike lane that all road users can access.

Public roads already exist, and unlike bike lanes and separated infrastructure, they conveniently go nearly everywhere! The rules for operating on them are widely and universally known as well. What's not to like?
I agree with you mostly - the one issue is that although there are rules for operating on the roads, they are not universally known, obeyed or enforced. If you doubt me, drive at a speed below the speed limit and see how you are treated - very similar to when taking the lane on a bicycle. I believe that all the current system really needs is enforcement such that all users of the roads follow the rules that have already been established. Make the expectation that the rules will be followed, and it will be safer for all.
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Old 12-11-08, 08:53 AM   #8
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Interesting idea. I can see the amount of paint being a problem. (For one, there's the cost. And then there's the environmental impact). Would it be possible to colorize the road surface itself somehow? Or perhaps use a different material for the sharrow portion?

The most practical solution is probably just to wait a few more years. I figure my children are basically growing up at the end of the automotive age.
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Old 12-11-08, 09:21 AM   #9
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The most practical solution is probably just to wait a few more years. I figure my children are basically growing up at the end of the automotive age.
I don't think the personal auto is going away.

I think the end of the gas driven SUV sized vehicle is at hand, but smaller vehicles powered by everything from gas to electricity will be part of our reality for a long time. I do think that autonomous drive vehicles will eventually be developed that will make our roads safer and allow the users all the distractions they want while going from point A to point B.

But like I said, the auto is NOT going away... it will simply evolve.

There is a good chance however that there will be greater acceptance of cycling... especially when cars automatically obey the laws.
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