Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Cary, NC
Bikes: 1983 Trek, 2001 Lemond, 2000 Gary Fisher
I disagree that major arterials are the easiest places to find pavement width to retrofit bike lanes. The unfortunate reality here in Cary, NC is that our existing, beautiful residential through streets with 32 feet of pavement were much easier to find space on than our existing arterials with 12-14' outside lanes. So, the city striped bike lanes on lots of low-volume 25 mph residential streets where lots of on-street parking, driveway and intersection conflicts existed. These bike lanes quickly filled with debris, refuse for collection, parked cars, runners, pedestrians walking dogs, wrong-way cyclists, etc. There has also been a backlash from residents upset over the parking prohibitions.
I probably stay outside of Cary's bike lanes for about half of the distance of these roads that I ride, either to avoid obstructions or debris or to deter right hooks and give myself more maneuvering room when traveling at speed, especially downhill. I've studied Cary's car-bike crash statistics and I've never seen record of an overtaking type collision on one of these roads before the striping was added. Nor was there ever any harassment of cyclists as far as I know. The stripes installation was motivated purely by marketing; the local planners and engineers know better now than to make safety claims about them.
HOV and bus lanes are other examples of mode marketing with either neutral or negative safety implications.