Old 08-18-13, 02:14 PM
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turbo1889
Transportation Cyclist
 
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Location: Montana U.S.A.
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I would heartily agree on the "lane diet" line. One that that drove me absolutely nuts is one of the local roads they re-did this spring where they widened the width of the road. Previously it was a narrow winding two lane road with 8-10 foot wide lanes and no shoulder edge to speak of with only about 6" of pavement to the right of the white fog line. When they were finished re-doing it they painted the road lines so it now has 12-13 foot wide lanes with a very narrow 1-foot wide shoulder edge to the right of the fog lines and then they cut rumble strips into that so that unless you want to ride on rumble strips continuously you can't ride a bike to the right of the white fog line even if you were brave enough to consider a shoulder edge only a single foot wide as preferable to ride rather then to ride about 1/3 of the way out into the main lane to give people the idea that they need to swing wide when they pass.

All they had to do was make the lanes a consistent 10-foot wide and have 3 to 4 foot wide shoulder edges to the right of the white fog line and then cut their rumble strips into the first foot of that outside the white line and that would have made a good place for us bicyclists to ride on a 2 to 3 foot wide strip of nice smooth fresh pavement far enough outside of the main traffic lane to be reasonably comfortable about not getting passed too closely especially with a strip of rumble strips between us and the main traffic lane. But, oh no, instead of widening the total width of the road and widening the lanes just enough to fully accommodate big 18-wheel rigs (consistently 10 foot wide lanes with a wide shoulder is sufficient for heavy commercial truck traffic much less cars) and combine that with wide shoulder edges for a safety buffer zone for motorist traffic and also as a good place for cyclist to ride they had to make a freaking race-track out of that curvy road !!!

Two entirely different messages sent by the exact same width of paved roadway depending on where the lines are painted and especially where the rumble strips are cut. On way is to make big wide lanes that send the message to motorists to relax and wander all over the lane and drive really fast because the lanes are so wide and they have plenty of room to swoop around the corners. The other way is to keep the lanes of reasonable width, not too narrow, but not too wide either to tell motorists to stay awake and hold their line and not wander all over especially with rumble strips to get their attention the moment they start to cross the white line and let them know to stay out of the shoulder edge unless they absolutely have to use it for a legitimate reason and to slow down on the curves because the lanes aren't double car wide so they can swoop through them like it's a freaking race track !!!

So, yes, when it comes to lane width especially unless it's a freaking controlled access freeway with alternate routes available (controlled access bicycle freeway?) for other traffic already in existence then make the lanes wide enough to accommodate heavy truck traffic safely but still keep them from getting so wide that it encourages motorists in general, especially those of the 4-wheel variety from making gashole road hogs of themselves. Lanes that aren't too wide so as to encourage misbehavior combined with wider shoulder edges on high speed roadways isn't just good for cyclists its also good for the general safety of motorists as well and keeps them from using the extra road width which is their safety net as a freaking trampoline (your not supposed to use a safety net as a trampoline or a hammock, its only supposed to be there to cover you in an emergency). For full size heavy vehicles that is exactly what a paved shoulder edge is, a safety net only, where as for us cyclists that don't put near as much load stress on the roadways and need a decent place to ride out of the main flow of traffic when its speed becomes much greater then ours a decent width and condition paved shoulder edge or the absence of it can make the difference between a nice peaceful leisurely ride and a very stressful situation for both us and other road users.

Motorists don't need 12 to 16 foot wide lanes and they really don't actually "need" anything much over 10 foot width on most roadways. They can spare us a few feet of width and in the process actually make themselves safer overall as well because generally motorists drive better and more safely in lanes that aren't overly wide because the narrower width psychologically cuts their over confidence down to size.

Last edited by turbo1889; 08-18-13 at 02:51 PM.
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