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Bike Lanes(33 posts)

Bike LanesDougSloan
Aug 11, 2002 7:35 PM
I think there must be a whole lot of variety concerning bike lanes. The ones here in Fresno are terrific, and I just couldn't understand why anyone would be opposed to them. To demonstrate, I took a few photos this afternoon. What do you think? How do these compare with bike lanes elsewhere?


I'm with you, brothermickey-mac
Aug 11, 2002 8:27 PM
Although most of the bike lanes in LA County don't look that nice, I'm thankful for what we've got. I grew up in Orange County, and it's got a lot of bike lanes similar to what you've shown, especially in south O.C. The City of L.A. added a bike lane to a good portion of my weekday morning route about 18 months ago, and I'm very happy about it. About 1/2 the ride is in a bike lane now. I've never been hit in a bike lane; I've never been told to get off the road in a bike lane. Maybe I'm just fooling myself, but I almost always feel safer in a bike lane and have never heard a good argument against them from a cyclist's point of view. If the best the anti-bike lane people can do is that "false sense of security" argument that's sometimes used to argue against helmets, I'll take a well-marked bike lane any day.
duh....... dumb question about picsJohnG
Aug 11, 2002 9:15 PM
Is that one appended jpg or multiple jpgs. If multiple, how do you post em.

duh....... dumb question about picsDougSloan
Aug 12, 2002 8:30 AM
I put them in my website and then link to each picture with an html tag.

beautifulI Love Shimano
Aug 11, 2002 11:48 PM
Wish I lived there, we don't have bikelanes here =(
beautiful- but it may be 105+ today!SnowBlind
Aug 12, 2002 7:53 AM
about the same in SDdsc
Aug 12, 2002 12:15 AM
not all are that nice, nor does every road have one - it depends on the age of the road/when it was last renovated. Just about any road built in the last 10 yrs. has clearly marked bike lanes.

Who in the world is against them???
opinions against themDougSloan
Aug 12, 2002 8:32 AM
I've heard people complain that we should not be relegated to special lanes; that we are entitled to ride with traffic; and that having special lanes will make driver think that that is the only place we belong, then.

nice, look a little wider than those in Floridamaximum15
Aug 12, 2002 2:29 AM
My area is blessed with quite a few bike lanes and all new roads get one. Living near an area where most of the new housing developments are going up ensures lots of bike lanes.
Several problems with those...MB1
Aug 12, 2002 3:30 AM
#1) You were in a car?!?!?!***
#2) There is nobody in them (see #1). This is actually a big problem since politicians and voters will start to ask why they are spending the money when there is so little use or need.
#3) Those roads were wide enough and clean enough for riding without the bike lanes. It is not much help when bike lanes are put on roads that are already fine for cycling. What about some lanes through congested downtown roads?

Nice post though.
Other problems with lanes...KEN2
Aug 12, 2002 6:54 AM
Those lanes do look very nice. I think lanes work best in a suburban environment such as that in the picture.

However, there are a number of problems with bike lanes no matter the location; some are design problems, and some are "behavioral:"

1. The more optional right turns there are, the more user conflicts. Bike lanes are the only vehicle situation in which one can turn across (car to the right), another vehicle that is traveling straight (bicycle). Some states have laws about merging into the lane first, others don't, but motorist behavior is typically clueless. If the law is ambiguous, it creates the only traffic situation in which a driver yields to traffic (bicycles) on the right when turning. The lanes tend to encourage right hooking. The dotted lines on these lanes where there are right turns implies merging before turning.

2. As mentioned elsewhere, other users such as 'bladers and runners often take over the lanes.

3. Because there is never motor traffic in them, the natural sweeping effect on debris doesn't happen. Most lanes in my experience are built, then never cleaned, which means they are death traps for bike tires.

4. If there are any right-turn dedicated lanes on the route, there is again a routing problem for bike lanes. Do they go to the right of the dedicated lane? (makes no sense by accepted traffic rules). Or do they cross that lane at some point?

5. Motorists tend to ignore anything that isn't part of traffic. Bikes in separate lanes aren't part of traffic, so they tend to become invisible.

6. There is a "political" objection from some cyclists, since separate lanes trigger the "separate but equal" idea... motorists are often for them because they get cyclists out of their way (i.e. at the back of the bus).

7. What do you do if you want to make a left turn--turn from the lane? If not you're going to violate sacred motorist lane space and you can believe you'll hear about it from horns and/or shouted comments ("get in the bike lane!").

8. What about congested traffic, where the bike lane can move faster than the outside traffic lane. This is a situation I encounter where I live, and it's difficult to know whether you should just fly by on the right and risk someone turning suddenly into your path.

The most commonly accepted alternative to lanes, is the WOL (wide outside lane). It's basically the same roadway as in Doug's photos, with no bike lane paint. I prefer them because you don't give up your right to use the entire lane as appropriate. When it's congested, I merge into the lane and hold my place. If I want to execute a left turn I merge left etc.

Have a look at John Forester's Effective Cycling website His motto is "Cyclists fare best when they act and are treated as drivers of vehicles." You can't act like the driver of a vehicle if you're segregated in a "separate but equal" bike lane.
Yep. What he said. Bike lanes are bad news.Ahimsa
Aug 12, 2002 8:46 AM
They are fine for you in the sunny Cali suburbs maybe, but try 'em in the snowbelt downtown sometime after they plow all the muck and ice into 'em.

Do we really want to willingly put ourselves in the position where the only places we are allowed to ride are MUTs and bike lanes?

WTF is with you people?!?

All you'll hear after that is this:

Cyclists: "We need more lanes and paths now that we can't use the "auto roads"! I have to drive my bike to a "bikeway" just to get a ride!"

The government money trough: "We don't care. You already have too many lanes and trails. Why, just the other day I noticed how empty they were! Quit whining."

Motorists: "Get in the bikelane! You're not allowed on the road! Go ride on the pathway, that's what it is for!"

Sheesh. Why is this so hard to grasp?

Stop wasting this money and put it to better use.

Mass transit. Incentives for bike commuters. Bike racks and lockers. Motorist/Cyclist education. Programs advocating responsible use of autos. Etc.

Aug 12, 2002 9:06 AM
No one has suggested that the bike lanes be the "only place we can ride." If there are no lanes, you can ride just like any place else. If there is a bike lane, yes, you must ride in the lane, unless there are obstructions. This is no different than being required to drive in the right lane on the freeway except to pass or "slower traffice keep right" (which is about the most unenforced law in existence).

Even in the snow belt, having a lane means there is somewhere to push the snow, vs. having no lane and having no place to ride at all, except right out in the traffic lane. Keep in mind that even in areas with good bike lanes, if there is no lane on any particular road, you are entitled to the same rights of autos to road use.

Doug, we have been over this before...Ahimsa
Aug 12, 2002 9:25 AM
...and it does not necessarily come down to a matter of legality, but rather an issue of perception.

The perception of law makers who believe in seperate facilities will lead to laws that truly do seperate us from the road.

The perception of motorists that we "should be in the bike lane" even when there isn't one, or it is unsafe.

The perception of new cyclists and future generations that cycling is only a "recreation" engaged in on certain "bikeways" and not a reasonable and effective means of "real" transportation.

Doug sez:
"This is no different than being required to drive in the right lane on the freeway except to pass or "slower traffic keep right" (which is about the most unenforced law in existence). "

This speaks volumes to me when it comes to bike lanes. Unenforced is a good term. How many unenforced rules will we be forced to endure?

Statistically it has been shown that bike lanes are less safe than the road. Sidewalks and MUT's too.

If ya need the data I'll search it up and post hard #'s this eve.

Aug 12, 2002 8:35 AM
Yes, I was in a car. I already rode 85 miles hard earlier in the day. That ok?

At certain times of the day, there are lots of people in them. This was in the hottest part of the day, around 3 pm.

Many road around here are designed for bikes lanes. Thus, the width and room for the lanes. I prefer marked lanes to simply having a wide road.

There are lanes downtown, too, but not quite as wonderful as these. The older roads frequently don't have same width.

RE: "Yes I was in a car...That OK?"Steve_0
Aug 12, 2002 8:43 AM
You werent, by chance, driving that car while taking the pics, were you? I'd hate to think of a cyclist putting other cyclist at risk through irresponsibility.
Aug 12, 2002 9:01 AM
While your question is good in the abstract, you can plainly see there are no cyclists in the pictures. It takes about 2 seconds to snap a picture with a digital with a display on the rear and auto focus. I endangered no one.

Aug 12, 2002 9:29 AM
Are you positive there were no cyclists approaching perpindicularly? How would you know? At least 4 of those pictures were taken at INTERSECTIONS.

Ignoring the all-important peripheral vision, even for 2 seconds, can be the difference between life and death.

Extreme case? Certainly; Possible ? Absolutely.

Most common response from a motorist after strking a cyclist: "I didnt see him"

Just something to think about next time a motorist brushes you on you morning ride. Perhaps he was dialing his cell for 'just a second', or reaching into the glovebox for 'just a second'.
re: Bike LanesBike Mike
Aug 12, 2002 4:02 AM
Okay...I'm packing my s** and getting ready to move!

We have "Bike Lanes" here in Annapolis. The nice ones are in the exclusive neighborhoods of the City (big surprise), but they couldn't rival those in your shots. I am getting ready to fire off a letter to the City of Annapolis about our bike access. There is a book called "25 Best Rides in Maryland" that includes a "Historic Annapolis" route. If you follow the route you ride through two mile-long sections that are scary - if the potholes don't taco your wheel the glass will surely puncture your tire or the old people will definitely ride you off the road! The rest of the route is just mediocre. And there are LOTS of users on bikes. I will refer the city to Fresno for inspiration! Thanks for the post!

At least you have bike lanesms
Aug 12, 2002 5:08 AM
If there is a bike lane in Baltimore City or northern Baltimore County, I have not seen it. The best we have are a few "Share the Road" signs. Although I never been to Fresno, I have ridden in the Bay Area and in LA. I not only was impressed by the bike lanes, but by the fact that California are much more courteous to cyclists than motorists are on the East Coast.
Nice roadfiltersweep
Aug 12, 2002 4:45 AM
..nice road surface.

What drives me nuts about these types of bike lanes- especially some of the middle pics, is that if there is a 3-4 ft. wide lane directly adjacent to a curb, and I am zipping down the road, I will generally ride toward the left of the bike lane (in the lane, but not hugging a concrete curb). It seems vehicles do not feel compelled to give bikes any extra room since there is already a lane. Many times cars drive closer to me when there is a lane than if there is none.

It does look like you have a wide road, which should help. Also the road looks straight- I can't tell you how many times drivers can't keep it between the lines when the road curves.

Judging from the pics- if the speed limit is 40, people probably drive 50-60 ?

For the bottom pics: are there two bike lanes (with one opposing traffic) or is it a parking lane, or a turning lane? What is up with the two lanes?

BTW- I see there is a suicide lane for cars in the middle. Very few traffic lights (none in sight)- there is a road like this near where I live, and for some odd reason, there are many older people who live in that community- and I don't care what anyone says- 80% of drivers who wear hats (not caps) are terrible drivers. Anyway, there are a ton of accidents on that road. People simply seem to tire of waiting to turn on to the road from side streets (either left or right) and just pull out in front of traffic (thinking, "I've waited at this stop sign long enough, if I just pull out into traffic, everyone else will yield..."). Add the suicide lane into the mix, which many people are afraid to use at all, so they block the main lane of traffic when turning left, and other cars will pass in the bike lane- angry at that point at the car that won't use the middle lane.

Other than that- beautiful road! Nice touch- the no stopping sign in the bike lane...
the "extra" laneDougSloan
Aug 12, 2002 8:37 AM
On some that appear to have two bike lanes, the one closest to the curb is acually a parking lane. They rarely get used, though. What's nice is that in those areas the bladers and runners tend to stay over there.

re: Looks like paradise to me.dzrider
Aug 12, 2002 5:04 AM
I wish CT had roads with this much room for cyclists. Often riders sound to me like they would rather accept nothing than accept a space that they view as less than ideal. This is silliness in a situation that has no perfect answers. Bike paths separate from the main roads are shared with roller bladers, dog walkers and the latest scourge, roller skis and poles. Cars will eventually have to cross any path alongside the main road putting cyclists at risk. Consistently wide shoulders look sweet to me.
interesting study....Steve_0
Aug 12, 2002 5:57 AM
I once happened upon an interesting study which concluded Automobile drivers actually give a wider birth to cyclists when there is NO bike lane.

Apparently, the little white line creates a subconscience 'me .vs. them' metaility, in which the driver feels his only responsibility is to stay in his 'lane'.

Remove the bike lane, however, and the driver (subconsciensly) realizes the lane is being 'shared', giving the cyclist a wider berth, and therefore a safer environment.

Though we dont have many bike lanes, I find (empirically) this to be true when riding in the shoulder. Cars typically tend to try to squeeze by. When I ride far enough to the left to force the car beyond their lane, however, they give a MUCH wider berth than necessary.

Very few, if any here, in PA.JL
Aug 12, 2002 6:07 AM
I only really know of 1 which runs for about 2 miles and another not nearly as well marked near Philly. Definitely not as wide but better than nothing. For me, many of the roads on my rides are too narrow and rural for bike lanes. Most of the busy, larger roads do have decent (though dirty) shoulders.

Looks like a great riding for you. I wish we had some areas like that in the East.

Happy riding.

Ohhh Mannnn!MXL02
Aug 12, 2002 6:34 AM
Now I have serious bike lane lust. Ours are decrepit, dirty, full of pot holes, and just plain dangerous. To make matters worse, they usually don't connect or lead anywhere. They are placed haphazardly. You are fortunate indeed.
situation's different in urban n veg
Aug 12, 2002 7:35 AM
... where you have bike lanes adjacent to parking lanes. You have to ride on the outside stripe to avoid getting "doored." Take a look at this article on how Cambridge, Mass is rethinking its bike lanes after a fatality:
How is that different than a paved shouldersalmonwheel
Aug 12, 2002 9:40 AM
Most cylists just want roads safe to ride on. If the roads are wide enough with a shoulder why do we need to call it a bike lane they are the same in practice except at intersections where I have seen very poorly designed situations. My problems with special lanes and MUT's is that many motorists start to think it isn't their responsibility to know how to ride with cyclists. How many op ed articles state cyclists should ride where there are bike lanes or on the "bike path". And I have been yelled at to get off the road while in a bike lane. I think the arguments against bike lanes are more about motorist response, which should be addressed through education and law enforcement, and issues with design that should be focused on improving design. Just my 2 cents.

I think bike lanes like the ones pictured are great, haven't found one like that where I live, but there was a road with a two foot shoulder they put some signs on 15 years after the road was paved. A minimum standard of 2-3 foot shoulders would be enough to reduce car bike tensions (but wider is better), and should be incorporated into all road building and upgrading.

My cycling advocacy issues concern where the proper infrastructure doesn't exist. I didn't design the roads, but I still need to get to work. Motorists need to know and accept a cyclists right to the road which includes the traffic lanes when conditions require "taking the lane". Enforcement and education on this matter are certainly lacking.

Doug, you are lucky.
Paved shoulder.Len J
Aug 12, 2002 9:53 AM
Leave it to California to take what the rest of the country calls a shoulder & rename it a bike lane. LOL

Around here, most of the higer traffic areas have full car width shoulders. Cyvlist are required to ride on shoulder except when turning left. Most low-traffic back roads have no shoulders but also very few cars.

How far out of fresno do these "Bike lanes" run?

Paved shoulder.DougSloan
Aug 12, 2002 10:00 AM
I suppose it's the same as a "paved shoulder," except cars cannot even stop there, and it helps to raise awareness of bikes potentially being there with the markings. There are many roads that do have simple "paved shoulders," too. Nothing wrong with that. Some of these are have signs labelling them a "Bike Route." Again, I think this helps to raise drivers' awareness.

One road, Auberry Road, has a designated bike lane over 20 miles out of town. There are many that stretch 5-10 miles. The smallest country roads are just like anywhere else.

re: Bike Lanesbikedodger
Aug 12, 2002 11:39 AM
Most of the bike lanes in my town here have cars parked in them and are significantly narrower.

Those paths are beautiful, Doug, but not typical of FresnoStraightblock
Aug 12, 2002 2:22 PM
If you look at the city's bike pathways map

all the idyllic paths you show are concentrated in a very small geographic area in the newest & northernmost part of the city, which is primarily a refuge for upscale suburbanites like you & me. They're o.k. for locals riding their "comfort bikes" to Starbucks, but I think they're mostly for presenting an illusion of open space for motorists & homeowners and for satisifying government mandates for alternate transportation. South of Shaw Avenue, where a cyclist is more likely to be a busboy riding home from a shift at Denny's or a kid riding to school than a hard-core recreational rider or racer, bikeways are few & far between, and don't offer much for cyclists looking for safe & convenient transportation routes thru the city core.
up to date?DougSloan
Aug 12, 2002 2:49 PM
It seems there are more than what is shown on the maps. As you know, though, many Fresno streets are very wide, or have access roads along side the busy parts. Nonetheless, I wasn't attempting to show all of Fresno or be representative, but to show these bike lanes and ask if they are similar to those people seem to object to in other places.