Playing the Numbers Game, Part 3

For the final installment of this series, let’s take a look at manufactured right-turn conflicts in Portland, Oregon.

Two of the three general rules of safe movement are drive on the right and pass on the left. These simple rules are designed to, among other things, keep your attention directed forward into a right hand turn. It also means nothing is supposed to be on your right.

But in Portland they put bicyclists on your right. Take a look.


Here’s a green lane on a 1-way street. By law bicyclists must stay in their designated lanes and cars must stay out. So you get this right-hood conflict.


This is an interesting example. That’s a “protected” bicycle lane on the far right of the picture. The travel lane is on the far left. All that yellow paint in the middle is the barrier. So a right turn here requires an extra bit of neck stretching on the motorist’s part.


And one more example.

I don’t have much else to say except I believe such infrastructure is only possible when advocates, planners, and engineers are thinking far more about participation than traffic safety.

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Comments 4

  1. Ian Cooper wrote:

    I wouldn’t mind these crummy bike facilities so much if drivers could be counted upon to exhibit some level of competence.

    Posted 22 Jul 2014 at 3:10 pm
  2. Khal Spencer wrote:

    The problem is, such facilities even tax good drivers. Mediocre drivers are doomed to fail. Which means you and I end up on someone’s hood.

    Posted 22 Jul 2014 at 11:05 pm
  3. Ian Cooper wrote:

    To be honest, I wouldn’t use such facilities anyway – I even avoid roads that have them (which is admittedly easy here in Maryland because there aren’t many).

    My worry is that I’ll end up on someone’s hood while occupying the general traffic lane, because motorists are generally so incompetent that they might think they’re within their rights to hit me if I’m not either riding in the gutter or on the sidewalk. The level of incompetence, ignorance and the sense of entitlement I encounter in drivers while I’m on my average daily commute is staggering and frightening.

    Posted 23 Jul 2014 at 2:47 am
  4. Steve A wrote:

    Regardless, if one know what is safe, none of this keeps anyone from safe operation and police are unlikely to ticket even safely operating cyclists. They’re even less likely to ticket any dweebs attempting to follow the green…

    Posted 24 Jul 2014 at 3:10 pm