Bike Lane Laws; It Could Happen Here

What can happen after a community spends a lot of money painting bicycle lanes? Well, someone will get the idea that, having spent so much money, bicyclists should be required to ride in the lanes. Check out what Keri Caffrey writes about why that’s a problem.

A couple of highlights:

Forward focus is your priority in a complex streetscape. Leaving a bike lane to avoid a potential conflict requires scanning behind you to negotiate before moving left. Any time a series of potential conditions would cause you to move in and out of a bike lane every 15 seconds (that’s common with a city street grid, it also happens on trash day), it’s easier and more predictable just to stay out.

… and …

Exceptions or not, the far right and mandatory bike lane laws repress defensive driving practices for the drivers who are most exposed, passed with the highest speed differentials, create the least impact upon the system, and are the least likely to threaten the safety of others. These laws are egregious. The costs of having to fight an unjust and unwarranted citation in a potentially-biased court are onerous. This creates conditions for targeted harassment, such as Fred has suffered in Port Orange, Ormond Beach and recently Daytona Beach. Exceptions or not, they make us second class citizens.

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Comments 3

  1. Khal Spencer wrote:

    Having spent eight years on my county transportation advisory board, and often chairing the board, I can say that this is a serious concern. If you build them, people will expect cyclists to be using them.

    So two suggestions. First, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Secondly, if you do fix it, make sure you fix it right and don’t “improve it” by creating unmitigated hazards and unnecessary restrictions. Having your bicycling advisory committee ride on any roads which are targeted for improvements, and working with your local traffic engineer, you might get it right, or at least not make it worse. Better yet, get your traffic engineer on a bike, even if you have to pass the hat and buy it yourself.

    Posted 03 May 2012 at 10:23 am
  2. Andy Cline wrote:

    Khal… We’re lucky — our traffic engineer is a bicycle commuter and member of the STAR Team.

    Posted 03 May 2012 at 10:49 am
  3. Khal Spencer wrote:

    You ARE lucky!

    Posted 03 May 2012 at 11:48 am