Thursday, December 06, 2007

Bike Lane Changes

I have seen this in pictures of Amsterdam and other cities on that side of the pond, but this is the first I have seen of it here in the US (although I'd like to know if it exists anywhere else in the US). Portland recently announced that they are going to revamp an intersection that has been notoriously dangerous for cyclists. See pic below for the proposal.



If you have ever ridden a bike on a road where the right hand lane can either turn right or go straight, you know how dangerous it can be. The main thing that makes it dangerous is motorists not using their turn signals. I will NEVER pass a car on the right if they have their turn signal on. If they have their turn signal off, I will pass them VERY cautiously if there is a bike lane. The "very cautiously" part is what most cyclists forget about. Motorists frequently don't use turn signals and they will dart right into the bike lane without giving a second thought that there might be a cyclist there coming from behind. Obviously, this happens more often than not at an intersection and the situation becomes more confusing if the cars are allowed to either turn or go straight (as opposed to only being able to do one of the two). I don't know why UDOT doesn't build every new intersection like this. There's not much of a reason not to. If you make the center median skinnier, then there will be enough room for the bike lane, that's all it would take.

The blue color is to allow motorists to easier visualize where a cyclist may be riding. If the motorist knows where to look for cyclists, they are more likely to see them.


***UPDATE***
I emailed the Mayor's Bicycle Advisory Committe (MBAC) chairman about the cycling lane design. He was very quick in getting me information and also forwarded my email on to the S.L.C. transportation engineer who also left a very good impression on me. He said that between State St. and Main St. on 2nd South in SLC, one of the possibilities that they are planning is making the right hand lane (going Eastbound) a shared lane. This would entail possibly painting it blue and letting motorists know that cyclists are welcome in that lane also. Way to go SLC!

3 comments:

Ron said...

two wheeler,

something similar at dave moulton's blog.

http://davesbikeblog.blogspot.com/2007/11/do-separate-bike-paths-improve-safety.html

sly fox said...

That is pretty cool. It would be nice if people just simply paid attention to the fact that a bike lane exists. The biking community in Salt Lake is getting better, so hopefully it will continue to improve. They put in a new bike lane between Salt Lake and Bountiful, but they put it on the road that the gravel trucks take so it is always dusty (they often use water trucks to keep the dust down, but then it is muddy). I guess they are trying. It is definitely better than no bike lane.

Andy and Alex Thomas said...

Sounds like a good idea. I think if you could get the mayor on a bike in the situation you described, he would be right there with you.