There’s Something Happening Here

UPDATE: I have confirmed that the paint on Cherry east of Glenstone is intended to be a bicycle lane. The engineer I contacted said that the lane should have been painted 5.0 feet from the face of the curb and 3.0 feet from a pavement seam such as the edge of gutter.

What it is ain’t exactly clear. Is it a bicycle lane? Is it a shoulder?

So the Bicycle Friendly Springfield group on Facebook lit up briefly last week about some new paint on Cherry east of Glenstone. I was encouraged to see lots of skepticism. Today’s video demonstrates that skepticism is warranted.

But, is it a bicycle lane? Hmmmmm… I’ll try to find out on Tuesday. For the following video, given recent history, I’m assuming it is a lane.

This video contains lane measurements, and it demonstrates lane positioning based upon my opinion about how one should drive a bicycle on Cherry.

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Comments 28

  1. Gary Cziko wrote:

    Your bike sure makes a lot of noise. Are you using electric motor assist?

    Posted 02 Sep 2012 at 11:07 am
  2. Ian Brett Cooper wrote:

    In my opinion, if it doesn’t even reach as far left as the point where the correct cycling lane position is, then it’s not a bike lane. If that line represents anything, it’s the lane edge marking.

    By the way, is that some kind of 18-wheeler big rig you’re driving? You’re not (horror of horrors) riding some sort of electric-assist bike, are you? Are you secretly flirting with motorcycling?

    Posted 02 Sep 2012 at 11:13 am
  3. Ian Brett Cooper wrote:

    We’re just concerned, is all. If you haven’t seen the 1950s movie ‘The Terrible Truth’, you might want to give it a look. It’s about the dangers of electric assist bikes and how they can destroy lives.

    Posted 02 Sep 2012 at 11:18 am
  4. Khal Spencer wrote:

    At least it isn’t a man with a gun over there telling you that you got to beware.

    I saw similar markings in Durango, CO. Equally ambiguous, but a lot of cyclists were using them as gutter-bunny bike lanes.

    Ian’s right about the addictive qualities. More here.

    Posted 02 Sep 2012 at 11:27 am
  5. Tom Armstrong wrote:

    It doesn’t even meet the deservedly-maligned AASHTO standards for a bike lane. Aside from the usual reasons for not riding in it, if anyone cites you for not using it, you can tell the judge it isn’t even a legitimate bike lane.

    Not that a judge would believe you, but that’s another rant.

    Posted 02 Sep 2012 at 11:50 am
  6. Andy Cline wrote:

    Guys… yes, my Kona “Bike” is a bit noisy. But no electric assist for me! Just a Nexus 3-speed. Methinks if you shot video from your own bicycles (handle-bar mounted) you might be surprised what you hear 🙂

    Posted 02 Sep 2012 at 11:51 am
  7. Ian Brett Cooper wrote:

    To me, it looks like whoever striped the road measured 4ft from the curb, when they should have measured 4ft from the regulation lane edge (which ought to be some distance in from the curb).

    I think the problem is that the regulations are either not well enough defined, or poorly understood by those who do the painting. Of course, there’s also the problem that the regulations are garbage to start with, but if they were implemented properly, at least they wouldn’t look as ridiculous.

    Posted 02 Sep 2012 at 12:01 pm
  8. Ian Brett Cooper wrote:

    That is, of course, if it’s actually supposed to be a bike lane, and since the lane is 11ft from the center of the road to the line, there is the possibility that this is indeed simply the lane edge marking.

    Posted 02 Sep 2012 at 12:04 pm
  9. Khal Spencer wrote:

    If it is a bike lane, it is not supposed to include the gutter pan in the 4′ width and most definitely it should not include a diversion-fall inducing gutter pan lip down the middle.

    19.2 Bicycle Lane Widths and Construction Standards
    Bicycle lanes serve the needs of all types of cyclists in urban and suburban areas, providing them with their own travel lane on the street surface. The minimum width of a bike lane should be 1.5 meters (5 feet) against a curb or adjacent to a parking lane. On streets where the bike lane is adjacent to the curb and the curb includes a 1-foot to 2-foot gutter pan, bike lanes should be a minimum of 4 feet wide (width does not include the gutter pan, since bicyclists are typically unable to use this space).

    I would suggest the city move the stripe over two feet to make a 13′ lane, period.

    Posted 02 Sep 2012 at 12:34 pm
  10. Khal Spencer wrote:

    I have a hunch they striped for a standard 11′ lane, perhaps for traffic calming, and the rest is conjecture.

    Posted 02 Sep 2012 at 12:37 pm
  11. Andy Cline wrote:

    Khal… I hope this is not a bicycle lane. But two things make me a little worried that it is: 1) SGF has not been painting shoulder lines that I am aware of, and 2) SGF has been painting lanes, including gutter lanes like the one on Grant (from an earlier video). If it turns out this is not intended as a lane, I’ll correct the record and remove the video.

    The assumption hereabouts is that it is a lane, including a mention by the STAR Team chairman on the BFS Facebook group (see link in the post).

    Posted 02 Sep 2012 at 12:43 pm
  12. Steve A wrote:

    And I thought it was unclear because of the big blank area on my iPad where you claim there’s a video until I went to the Facebook page and saw that sorry excuse to get cyclists out of the way.

    Posted 02 Sep 2012 at 5:02 pm
  13. Andy Cline wrote:

    Steve… I’ll be posting a copy to YouTube soon. But I’m not sure why you wouldn’t be able to view on Vimeo. Hmmmm…

    Posted 02 Sep 2012 at 5:07 pm
  14. Steve A wrote:

    Doubly mysterious since the Ian and Khal embedded YouTube videos are fine. 😉

    Posted 03 Sep 2012 at 4:13 am
  15. Coy wrote:

    When I was in high school I actually paid cash money to see “Reefer Madness” in a theater!!!

    That may also explain why I DO have an electric assist bike, which makes you want to get off and kiss it’s headset at the top of every hill!

    Love & Kisses,

    Posted 03 Sep 2012 at 3:27 pm
  16. Coy wrote:

    BTW, 13′ + 2′ = 15′ which should be enough for a shared lane. A few years back some of us went to Wisconsin and did a big ride up there (110’s of miles) … there was about a foot to 18″ (we guessed) to the right of the ‘fog line’ and we found this little space (along with our mirrors) to be quite comforting. Can’t remember, but most of it was 2 lane at highway speeds (55-65 miles per hour.

    — Coy

    Posted 03 Sep 2012 at 3:41 pm
  17. Ian Brett Cooper wrote:

    I hate the very concept of a lane where it’s supposedly ‘safe’ for two vehicles to travel side-by-side within the same lane. It just strikes me as inherently risky. Lanes work best when they can’t be shared – when vehicles must change lanes to overtake. Whenever I have to deal with a wide outside lane, it makes me worry, because such lanes can’t be controlled by cyclists. When I can’t control a lane, it places me at the mercy of every moron or nutcase who wants to overtake me.

    Posted 03 Sep 2012 at 3:54 pm
  18. Khal Spencer wrote:

    There is only 13 ft of pavement it you go flush to the gutter pan seam. Not wide enough to share with adequate overtaking lateral clearance, at least with witless US drivers.

    Posted 03 Sep 2012 at 5:41 pm
  19. Andy Cline wrote:

    Coy … That’s a 13-foot lane. The gutter is out of bounds 🙂

    Posted 04 Sep 2012 at 7:59 am
  20. Andy Cline wrote:

    I have updated the entry. The paint on cherry is intended as a bicycle lane.

    Posted 04 Sep 2012 at 2:54 pm
  21. Khal Spencer wrote:

    In which case, it is a “hazardous by design” bike lane. It will not meet the four foot width (not including the gutter pan) guideline I posted earlier, and will result in a 3′ bike lane barely wide enough to ride in and an adjacent 10′ travel lane barely wide enough for a large vehicle to drive in–and encourage hazardously close passing distances. Paint stripes don’t magically create more pavement width.

    Did you ask the engineer why he is willfully violating published guidelines?

    Posted 04 Sep 2012 at 5:28 pm
  22. Andy Cline wrote:

    Khal… There’s more work to do on this. Stay tuned.

    Posted 05 Sep 2012 at 7:26 am
  23. Ian Brett Cooper wrote:

    So, technically, that’s a 2ft bike lane. I haven’t seen anything like that since I left the UK, over 20 years ago. To be honest, I thought the US DoT was better than that.

    Posted 05 Sep 2012 at 8:26 am
  24. Khal Spencer wrote:

    Ian, these are often locally made decisions that are at cross purposes with published guidelines. The problem, other than the political ones we are well aware of, i.e., “any bike lane is better than none”, is that the weasel-words in the published guides often say “should” or “may” or “ought to” or such prose but rarely if ever say ” thou shall”. Therefore the local and state engineers and their penny pinching bosses often violate best practice since they are not mandatory and cost more money (cu. yards of pavement material, right of way, etc).

    So in part, we have been sold out by guideline approval processes (read committees) who can’t get enough consensus into their published products to put real teeth in these things. Imagine if the Ten Commandments were written this way:

    Thou might consider not killing
    Thou should not steal or covet
    Thou should refrain from adultery
    Thou really ought not to take My name in vain

    etc., etc

    Posted 05 Sep 2012 at 9:01 am
  25. Khal Spencer wrote:

    An example, from my earlier post #9. Caps are mine. Note it says should, not must or shall.

    “…The minimum width of a bike lane SHOULD be 1.5 meters (5 feet) against a curb or adjacent to a parking lane. On streets where the bike lane is adjacent to the curb and the curb includes a 1-foot to 2-foot gutter pan, bike lanes SHOULD be…”

    Posted 05 Sep 2012 at 9:05 am
  26. robert wrote:


    This is a perfect opportunity for you to work to have the bike lane repainted properly. As someone noted, it doesn’t even meet the AASHTO requirements.

    I’m afraid if you start discussing the evil of bike lanes, you will be dismissed as a member of teh fringe (which you proudly are.) However, if you explain how their good intentions were not up to anyone’s standards the lane can at least be improved and functional (in most people’s eyes).

    Posted 06 Sep 2012 at 1:50 pm
  27. Ian Brett Cooper wrote:

    I doubt anyone who commutes regularly on the road views bike lanes as anything but a nuisance. It’s hardly a ‘fringe’ view. The fringe view is the one that supports any sort of bicycle infrastructure, no matter how bad.

    Posted 06 Sep 2012 at 6:24 pm
  28. Andy Cline wrote:

    Robert… I do appreciate your concern for my fringiness, but I think it won’t be the fringe position for long (if it indeed is). Did you check the Bicycle Friendly Springfield page on FB? No one is defending this lane. And the complaints fall solidly on the “don’t need it anyway” side. That’s progress! 🙂

    If a correction is going to happen it will be because David Hutchison seeks it. I cannot speak for him, but I took it from my communication with him that the painters made a mistake. I also know other mistakes have been made. For example, several markers indicating where bicycles should be positioned to trip traffic lights were put in the wrong spot and now need correcting.

    Posted 06 Sep 2012 at 10:15 pm