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  1. #1
    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    lanes that "support" sharing - some observations

    there's a lot of talk by the anti-bike stripe crowd in this forum - steve goodridge, larry felton, bruce rosar, etc- that claim there's great benefits by promoting roads that have 'wide lanes that support sharing'.

    I find there are a lot of contradictions and flaws in wide lanes. I like extra width for riding (who doesn't?) but there's a lot of flaws on relying on wide lanes for greater bikeability in communities.

    wide lanes encourage bicyclists to hug the curb and dart in and out of parked cars.

    also, just wide lanes on high speed arterials will keep many cyclists off those roads, looking for alternate routes.

    moving from a 'lane sharing' position to a 'lane claiming' position approaching intersections on high speed roads will be difficult or impossible for some bicyclists and impossible at times for all, making right hooks, blind spot crosses and destination conflicts inevitable with wide lanes.

    wide lanes at intersections also cause blocking problems for bicyclists in heavy traffic, making bicyclists do a bumper weave to advance, or getting stuck in traffic.

    I've been noticing a lot of 'wide lanes' that supposedly 'support sharing' that I have NO interest in sharing with automobile traffic. 14' feet of lane? please. that puts me riding within a foot or two of the curb as cars pass, or holding them up while claiming the lane. something I'm perfectly willing to do.

    I got the angry pickup truck honking and yelling yesterday in a wide lane as i was spooling up for a left off the road.

    I question the validity of promoting wide lanes that 'support' sharing.....

    is "wide lanes that support sharing" 'vc code' for promoting curb hugging, parked car dodging, bumper weave at stoplights, keeping some roads biker adverse, and causing destination conflicts?
    Last edited by Bekologist; 08-03-07 at 11:32 AM.
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  2. #2
    Senior Member randya's Avatar
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    wide lanes also encourage motorists to drive faster and IMO 14' is a fairly minimal width for a 'shared lane'. It gives cyclists about four feet or less of lane width, which would be unacceptably narrow if we were talking about bike lanes.

  3. #3
    Senior Member sggoodri's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bekologist View Post
    wide lanes encourage bicyclists to hug the curb and dart in and out of parked cars.
    The performance of the wide lane boils down to pavement width.

    If parking is to be accommodated on an important street, then the pavement needs to be wide enough to accommodate trucks passing the parked cars. Some streets are paved wide enough that drivers can overtake cyclists traveling outside the door zone without changing lanes. Other streets require drivers to change lanes. No big deal; if harassment or improper cycling is a concern, sharrows can be used.

    If bike lanes are to be striped, three options exist: 1 - Prohibit parking, which adjacent landowners will oppose. 2 - Stripe a door-zone bike lane, which encourages improper cycling and harassment of cyclists who operate properly. 3. Stripe a 4' buffer zone in the door area and stripe the standard-width bike lane outside of that, and a standard travel lane outside the bike lane. This option requires the maximum pavement width, even if the on-street parking is only lightly used. As a result, this expensive design is very rarely used, especially for new construction. It is usually seen in older, retrofitted areas where striped lanes have been removed or an extra-wide roadway existed for historical reasons.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bekologist View Post
    moving from a 'lane sharing' position to a 'lane claiming' position approaching intersections on high speed roads will be difficult or impossible for some bicyclists and impossible at times for all, making right hooks, blind spot crosses and destination conflicts inevitable with wide lanes.
    This makes no sense. If one wants or needs to move into the center of the normal travel lane from the side of the road, how does a bike lane stripe facilitate this? It can't. Bike lanes default to the right edge of the road, placing the cyclist in the prime location for a right hook or drive-out collision. The stripe discourages cyclists from moving farther left. A wide through lane lets the cyclist choose a lane-sharing or lane-claiming position, while the bike lane stripe explicitly routes cyclists to the right.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bekologist View Post
    wide lanes at intersections also cause blocking problems for bicyclists in heavy traffic, making bicyclists do a bumper weave to advance, or getting stuck in traffic.
    This is a tradeoff between the danger of filtering forward, which is more problematic the faster the cyclist goes, and the inconvenience of waiting for traffic congestion. In some areas with traffic problems, the inconvenience of waiting may be significant, but in others, such as where I live, it is not. Unfortunately, those places with the worst congestion also tend to be those places where the greatest opportunity for turns across the bike lane exist.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bekologist View Post
    I've been noticing a lot of 'wide lanes' that supposedly 'support sharing' that I have NO interest in sharing with automobile traffic. 14' feet of lane? please. that puts me riding within a foot or two of the curb as cars pass, or holding them up while claiming the lane. something I'm perfectly willing to do.
    Most of Cary's collector streets are built with 16' lanes next to a wide gutter pan. Raleigh's are 18' and some are wider. Some of these streets have been marked with 4' bike lanes; drivers pass me closer on those streets now that the stripes are added than they did before.

    Some of Cary's 4-lane arterials now feature 14' outside lanes next to wide gutter pans per the new standard. With my tires about 4 feet from the curb, 2' from the gutter pan, drivers pass me with adequate space.

    I promote 15' or wider lanes if the traffic speeds are high, but we've had a hard time convincing the city to buy and pave that much right of way. Adding even more width to create bike lanes would be a similarly difficult thing to sell.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bekologist View Post
    I got the angry pickup truck honking and yelling yesterday in a wide lane as i was spooling up for a left off the road.
    And a proper left turn approach is endorsed by a right-side bike lane how, exactly?

    At least with an unsegregated wide lane, he can lawfully pass you at a safe distance on the right. Narrow it by making the right portion legally off-limits to motorists, and he can't.

  4. #4
    Senior Member sggoodri's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by randya View Post
    wide lanes also encourage motorists to drive faster and IMO 14' is a fairly minimal width for a 'shared lane'. It gives cyclists about four feet or less of lane width, which would be unacceptably narrow if we were talking about bike lanes.
    Before I was aware of operational issues with bike lanes (I had never used one until a few years ago) I used to be really hopeful that bike lane striping would demonstrate reduced speeds on the same pavement width, i.e. converting a 15' lane into an 11' travel lane and a 4' bike lane.

    Unfortunately, all the studies I have been able to find indicate no improvement with the stripe. In some cases speeds get higher. The city of Raleigh even did their own study showing the same results. So it turns out that an 11' lane next to a 4' bike lane generates the same prevailing speeds as a 15' lane. However, studies show that drivers slow down considerably if a cyclist is in the same wide lane.

  5. #5
    -=Barry=- The Human Car's Avatar
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    I really don’t think there is one type of treatment that is going to be applicable everywhere, the problem is how to describe conditions that make one kind of treatment preferable over another kind.

    For example a three foot curb lane is nice on country roads but stinks on fast busy urban roadways. Similarly I think a WOL is also less then ideal in an urban setting but may have applicability in semi-urban or rural settings.

    I was trying to think of situations where I would prefer a WOL to other treatments and so far I have only come up with a curvy down hill descent with sections of near straight or level roadway. (i.e. the safest/courteous position for a cyclists changes frequently from right side or center of the roadway.)

    I have also reached the conclusion that I really like stripes but not necessarily the space created to the right of the stripe. So the problem is how to show that the space to the right of the strip is an optional or less then ideal space for a cyclist to be. A couple of my thoughts would be to put an occasional diagonal line across to remove the perception of a lane. Another idea would be to have an inside dashed line next to the solid stripe to indicate that a cyclist is allowed to move out from the space on the right.

    As much as people tout same road, same rules we need to also tout same engineering principles and same engineering considerations. A sold line means crossing is discouraged and that is not what we want to say to cyclists. Just because a narrow bike lane is safe for 8mph bike travel does not mean that it is safe for 20mph bike travel.
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  6. #6
    -=Barry=- The Human Car's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sggoodri View Post
    This makes no sense. If one wants or needs to move into the center of the normal travel lane from the side of the road, how does a bike lane stripe facilitate this? It can't. Bike lanes default to the right edge of the road, placing the cyclist in the prime location for a right hook or drive-out collision. The stripe discourages cyclists from moving farther left. A wide through lane lets the cyclist choose a lane-sharing or lane-claiming position, while the bike lane stripe explicitly routes cyclists to the right.
    I think the point is that a WOL does not facilitate this either.
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  7. #7
    Senior Member randya's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Human Car View Post
    Similarly I think a WOL is also less then ideal in an urban setting but may have applicability in semi-urban or rural settings.
    Exactly. Steve lives and rides in a very post-automobile suburban environment, I'm more of a pre-automobile city urban cyclist.

  8. #8
    Conservative Hippie
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    I'll go on the record once again as supporting multiple, same direction, narrow lanes over anything else.

    In other words, the lane doesn't support sharing which would mitigate a lot of negative interaction between motorists and cyclists, but the entire road, overall, supports sharing more than any other facility.
    Last edited by CommuterRun; 08-03-07 at 03:31 PM.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by randya View Post
    Exactly. Steve lives and rides in a very post-automobile suburban environment, I'm more of a pre-automobile city urban cyclist.
    The WOL's that make up a large part of the route I take from work into Philadelphia work very nicely. When the road is multiple lanes in my direction and a lot of intersections, I just use the normal line of travel in the right hand lane but have the option to move over into clean pavement if there's traffic waiting behind me and a long enough gap appears between intersections. I certainly never hear "get in the bike lane." I also found that motorists bias far enough right in a WOL when stopped that they can easily be passed on the left in heavy congestion. When traffic is stopped in both directions, passing on the left and avoiding being off to the right for any driveways or side streets is about as safe of filtering as I've been able to do.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Human Car View Post
    I think the point is that a WOL does not facilitate this either.
    There is no point in saying that though. Everyone knows that a wide lane does not facilitate lane changes in any way over a normal width lane. The point Steve is trying to make is that by striping an non-conventional lane (bike lane with a solid stripe) the process of changing lanes can become more difficult than if the wide lane was left alone. The fact that many motorists will change lanes even for a cyclist off to the right in a WOL makes lane changing even easier (more gaps to choose from).

  11. #11
    -=Barry=- The Human Car's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by joejack951 View Post
    There is no point in saying that though. Everyone knows that a wide lane does not facilitate lane changes in any way over a normal width lane. The point Steve is trying to make is that by striping an non-conventional lane (bike lane with a solid stripe) the process of changing lanes can become more difficult than if the wide lane was left alone.
    Here WOLís can informally break down to a right hand turn lane and a through lane or people make a right turn from the through lane (left most portion of the travel lane.) Cycling a WOL that breaks down to two lanes is near identical to traveling in a bike lane that ends 200 feet before an intersection. Cycling a WOL that doesnít break down to two lanes is near identical (for average cyclist) to having a bike lane up to the intersection. So as far as intersection issues go I donít see a whole lot of differences.

    Quote Originally Posted by joejack951 View Post
    The fact that many motorists will change lanes even for a cyclist off to the right in a WOL makes lane changing even easier (more gaps to choose from).
    They just changed a WOL to a standard lane and a curb lane (could be a designated bike lane) by my house and my impression is I still get the same % of people crossing the centerline to pass me while in the curb lane as I did without the curb lane. The only real difference the curb lane has made is that there are more joggers, bikes with kid trailers and just more cyclist out in general. It used to be I would generally not see any non motorized person out on this roadway and now it is the norm to wave to at least one or two people every time I use the road.
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  12. #12
    Sumanitu taka owaci LittleBigMan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bekologist View Post
    there's a lot of talk by the anti-bike stripe crowd in this forum - steve goodridge, larry felton, bruce rosar, etc- that claim there's great benefits by promoting roads that have 'wide lanes that support sharing'.

    I find there are a lot of contradictions and flaws in wide lanes. I like extra width for riding (who doesn't?) but there's a lot of flaws on relying on wide lanes for greater bikeability in communities.

    wide lanes encourage bicyclists to hug the curb and dart in and out of parked cars.
    I guess an inexperienced cyclist might do that, just like an inexperienced cyclist might stay in a bike lane no matter what the circumstance.
    No worries

  13. #13
    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    inexperienced bicyclists? do you mean the majority of the bicyclists out there? that still understand the 'rules of the road'?

    bike lanes can have much more fluidity to encourage leaving the bike lane with the use of dashes or cessation of the stripe to encourage greater lane use, little big man.

    and how does a bicyclists 'control' a 18' lane? I've found, in very wide lanes, that traffic will pass on both sides regardless of intended direction of bicyclist.
    "Evidence, anecdote and methodology all support planning for roadway bike traffic."

  14. #14
    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    "wide lanes that support sharing" = vc code for promoting curb hugging, parked car dodging, bumper weave at stoplights, keeping some roads biker adverse, and causing destination conflicts.
    "Evidence, anecdote and methodology all support planning for roadway bike traffic."

  15. #15
    Senior Member rando's Avatar
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    WOLs can be ambiguous. give me stripes.
    Last edited by rando; 08-03-07 at 11:22 PM.
    "Think of bicycles as rideable art that can just about save the world". ~Grant Petersen

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  16. #16
    Senior Member sggoodri's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CommuterRun View Post
    I'll go on the record once again as supporting multiple, same direction, narrow lanes over anything else.
    In slower downtown areas with lots of junctions, I prefer this too. I just take the lane and drivers change lanes to pass me in the next same-direction lane.

    If there isn't room for more than one lane in each direction in an urban environment, I prefer a wide lane, so I can choose to move into a rightward location when I want to facilitate same-lane passing.

    In an urban area where there is room for multiple lanes in each direction but the speeds are fast, I also prefer wide outside through lanes over narrow lanes.

    If there are very few junctions, i.e. if it is an expressway type facility or a rural road with few driveways, I don't care whether it is a striped faciltiy or WOL facility, except for the amount of debris. I have seen some shoulders with very little debris, and I ride on these. If there is construction in the area or if there are unpaved driveways along the road (common along the state roads without curb and gutter here) there tends to be a lot of gravel on the shoulders.

  17. #17
    Senior Member sggoodri's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bekologist View Post
    bike lanes can have much more fluidity to encourage leaving the bike lane with the use of dashes or cessation of the stripe to encourage greater lane use, little big man.
    You've claimed that the lack of a stripe encourages cyclists to stay too far right. Now you claim that ending the stripe causes cyclists to ride farther left. Which is it?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bekologist View Post
    and how does a bicyclists 'control' a 18' lane? I've found, in very wide lanes, that traffic will pass on both sides regardless of intended direction of bicyclist.
    One doesn't need to control an entire 18' wide lane. One only needs to ride in a location that discourages hook-type collisions. When turning right, ride near enough to the right side to deter passing on the right. When turning left, ride far enough left to deter passing on the left. When riding straight, ride far enough left to discourage right hooks at intersections. If this means that a straight-traveling driver sometimes manages to pass you on the right, so what? Merge farther to the right after they pass.

    I get passed on the right a lot by other cyclists, and occasionally by car drivers at stop sign intersections where there are no destination lane markings. Dividing up the roadway with destination-specific markings would be much more useful for reducing this type of problem than adding vehicle-type lane markings.

  18. #18
    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    steve, wide lanes will do nothing, intrinsically, to keep a rider further left. a buffered bike lane intrinisically does. and if the bike lane is dashed versus solid at conflict zones, or the stripe stops as a lane approaches a minor intersection, it indicates it is legal for bikes to move out of the lane.

    I understand how to destination position, steve, I don't need riding advice from you. yes, I get cars spooling up on my right at traffic signals too, when I'm travelling straight. I don't let them pass at stops though- how do they pass you at a stop sign???

    wow, incredible that destination positioning sometimes doesn't work in wide lanes.....

    I was pointing out flaws inherent in wide lanes.....sometimes, steve, in the middle of a wide lane, a right turning driver will STILL attempt to get around the bicyclist on the left, AND drivers will also attempt to pass on the right. you blithely state "so what?"..... must be your innocence (inexperience?) coming out, to deny traffic ambiguity towards bicycling inherent on wide lane roads.
    Last edited by Bekologist; 08-13-07 at 09:40 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bekologist View Post
    there's a lot of talk by the anti-bike stripe crowd in this forum - steve goodridge, larry felton, bruce rosar, etc- that claim there's great benefits by promoting roads that have 'wide lanes that support sharing'.

    I find there are a lot of contradictions and flaws in wide lanes. I like extra width for riding (who doesn't?) but there's a lot of flaws on relying on wide lanes for greater bikeability in communities.

    wide lanes encourage bicyclists to hug the curb and dart in and out of parked cars.

    also, just wide lanes on high speed arterials will keep many cyclists off those roads, looking for alternate routes.

    moving from a 'lane sharing' position to a 'lane claiming' position approaching intersections on high speed roads will be difficult or impossible for some bicyclists and impossible at times for all, making right hooks, blind spot crosses and destination conflicts inevitable with wide lanes.

    wide lanes at intersections also cause blocking problems for bicyclists in heavy traffic, making bicyclists do a bumper weave to advance, or getting stuck in traffic.

    I've been noticing a lot of 'wide lanes' that supposedly 'support sharing' that I have NO interest in sharing with automobile traffic. 14' feet of lane? please. that puts me riding within a foot or two of the curb as cars pass, or holding them up while claiming the lane. something I'm perfectly willing to do.

    I got the angry pickup truck honking and yelling yesterday in a wide lane as i was spooling up for a left off the road.

    I question the validity of promoting wide lanes that 'support' sharing.....

    is "wide lanes that support sharing" 'vc code' for promoting curb hugging, parked car dodging, bumper weave at stoplights, keeping some roads biker adverse, and causing destination conflicts?
    This is typical of Bekologist's irrelevant writings. Most of the problems that Bekologist cites as problems with wide outside lanes are also the same problems with bike lanes. Does Bekologist then follow his own logic and claim that narrow outside lanes are the best design?

  20. #20
    Dominatrikes sbhikes's Avatar
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    I don't believe wide lanes actually support sharing at all. I think they allow cyclists to ride to the right of motorists and that's about it.

    Sharing is what you do when there's only one toy and two kids want to play with it: take turns.
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    Quote Originally Posted by sbhikes View Post
    I don't believe wide lanes actually support sharing at all. I think they allow cyclists to ride to the right of motorists and that's about it.

    Sharing is what you do when there's only one toy and two kids want to play with it: take turns.
    Not quite. The argument for wide outside lanes is that they allow motorists to travel to the left of cyclists without using the adjacent lane, and, thus, without being much delayed.

    Diane, you make such noble announcements in matters about which you show blatant ignorance.

  22. #22
    Senior Member randya's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Forester View Post
    The argument for wide outside lanes is that they allow motorists to travel to the left of cyclists without using the adjacent lane, and, thus, without being much delayed.
    another example of the motorist superiority complex. bike lanes do it better
    Last edited by randya; 08-05-07 at 10:47 AM.

  23. #23
    Senior Member sggoodri's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bekologist View Post
    wow, incredible that destination positioning sometimes doesn't work in wide lanes.....

    I was pointing out flaws inherent in wide lanes.....sometimes, steve, in the middle of a wide lane, a right turning driver will STILL attempt to get around the bicyclist on the left, AND drivers will also attempt to pass on the right. you blithely state "so what?"..... must be your innocence (inexperience?) coming out, to deny traffic ambiguity towards bicycling inherent on wide lane roads.
    The prudent engineering solution to address improper destination positioning at intersections is destination-specific roadway markings. This is what I advocate at intersections; I have worked with engineers to obtain added lane markings at intersections in previously wide unmarked lanes where drivers of vehicles attempted to travel in parallel into the same lane on the opposite side of the intersections.

    If no destination lane markings have been provided, drivers of narrow vehicles must employ destination-appropriate positioning.

    Vehicle-specific markings invite improper destination positioning whenever the destination and vehicle type don't match. They aren't an effective solution at all.

  24. #24
    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    no, steve, destiantion specific lane markings for thru travel ARE an effective lane striping pattern. changing lanes to the turning lane is expected and required for turning traffic, but a preferred class travel lane for thru travel provides dedicated space at intersections.

    man, the big nay sayer says it can't be done. but it can.

    problem with steve's vision? striping turning lanes places some thru cyclists in the right side of the right turn lane, hugging the curb. bad position.


    a preferred class lane to the left of right hand turns places thru cyclists to the left of right turning traffic. striped bike lanes at major intersections for thru bike travel work, steve.

    cars are required to yield to vehicles to their right before moving right, no conflict at the merge zone unless drivers don't follow the rules of the road.
    "Evidence, anecdote and methodology all support planning for roadway bike traffic."

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Human Car View Post
    Here WOLís can informally break down to a right hand turn lane and a through lane or people make a right turn from the through lane (left most portion of the travel lane.) Cycling a WOL that breaks down to two lanes is near identical to traveling in a bike lane that ends 200 feet before an intersection. Cycling a WOL that doesnít break down to two lanes is near identical (for average cyclist) to having a bike lane up to the intersection. So as far as intersection issues go I donít see a whole lot of differences.
    Your list of faults of how a WOL is set up in your area says nothing about how effective the design is. Where pavement width only allows a WOL to turn into a narrow thru and turn lane (and the road engineers felt this was a necessary change), aside from adding more pavement, what could be done? There's not enough width for a bike lane so that can't even be considered as a possible solution.

    The difference between riding to the right in a WOL and riding to the right in a bike lane is that motorists see the bike lane as something they have to avoid whereas the right side of the WOL is space that can be used to turn right from. This difference places more turning motorists in the proper "as far right as practicable" position and eliminates at least some of the right hook oppurtunities that the less skilled cyclists places himself in. That's the biggest difference that I see.

    Quote Originally Posted by The Human Car View Post
    They just changed a WOL to a standard lane and a curb lane (could be a designated bike lane) by my house and my impression is I still get the same % of people crossing the centerline to pass me while in the curb lane as I did without the curb lane. The only real difference the curb lane has made is that there are more joggers, bikes with kid trailers and just more cyclist out in general. It used to be I would generally not see any non motorized person out on this roadway and now it is the norm to wave to at least one or two people every time I use the road.
    By curb lane, do you mean a lane who leftmost boundary is a solid stripe, like a bike lane but without the stencil? How wide is this curb lane? How many of these joggers do you think would be using it if there was "bike only" signs placed next to the lane? There's not much I can argue aside from what has been argued about why a white stripe on the roadway increases the comfortability of some users on a road.

    One of my small gripes about bike lanes is how they take away space that could be used by other road users (including walkers, runners, rollerbladers, etc.) by stating that only bikes can use that space. Some cyclists even let those signs go to there heads and start berating anyone who dares use THEIR bike lane.

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