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Thread: Hey! Why isn't that person on a bike in the bike lane?

  1. #11
    jrenaut's Avatar
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    Not to further cloud the discussion, but isn't the law in Maryland that cyclists DO have to use the bike lane if it's there?

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    Erin --

    I have never seen such a visual, but I think it would be useful. In a conversation with my boss, it became clear she was very mistaken about what "Bikes May Use Full Lane" meant. So some education for the general public would be useful.

    The challenge is to keep it positive when it is easy to be cynical (vehicles or construction blocking the bike lane, horrible road surface a la M Street in DC). So maybe you could have an illustration of a family with small kids in a trailer or bakfiets in the bike lane, and a faster solo cyclist riding with automobiles in the travel lane?

    Liz

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    Quote Originally Posted by jrenaut View Post
    isn't the law in Maryland that cyclists DO have to use the bike lane if it's there?
    Yeah, seems like there is. I feel like the information about why someone might not be in a bike lane might be useful to curious drivers. BA had someone tweet at us asking about the position of a person biking that they saw while driving in a friendly way.

    Maybe my drawing can have asterisks for local laws. And it does seem like folks are looking to change the MD law.

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    This is a great area to ponder. Thanks Erin.

    This happens to be often enough on Quincy, usually because the bike lane is blocked or someone is about to/just opened a door. If only there were a way to totally eliminate the problem ....

    I could see a video (less snarky than the NY one) that demonstrates why someone would bike in the travel lane when there's a bike lane. It could demonstrate the door zone, the blocked lane, the bike-lane-is-about-to-end-and-I-can-safely-get-over-now, passing another cyclist (or jogger, grrr), bad pavement, and the left turn [others?]. For the why-not-bike-on-the-path question, it could demonstrate the crowded path, the that's a really big hill and the road is pancake flat (I'm thinking of you, beginning of the W&OD), the I'm going somewhere on this block.

    A 2D representation could do that with pictures, but probably not as effectively.

    And to Steve's point, it would be great to work this into a larger "how to use bike lanes - whether you're on a bike, on foot or in a car" that could demonstrate how to cross the street (or wait to), how to turn if you're in a car, how to pass if you're in a car (or if you're on foot, i.e. smile and wave).

    Who wants to take the lead?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Erin Potter View Post
    Yeah, seems like there is. I feel like the information about why someone might not be in a bike lane might be useful to curious drivers. BA had someone tweet at us asking about the position of a person biking that they saw while driving in a friendly way.

    Maybe my drawing can have asterisks for local laws. And it does seem like folks are looking to change the MD law.
    There is, but there is also a specific definition for what constitutes a bike lane in Maryland. Of course, in Maryland there are bike lanes, bike ways, bike paths, shoulders, and more.

    I posted about this on another thread considering a non-bike lane on River Road:
    Quote Originally Posted by bobco85 View Post
    First, these are the definitions according to Maryland law (I tried to put this in a more readable format and removed non-bicycle text):
    21-101 Definitions
    ...


    • (c) Bicycle Path – “Bicycle Path” means any travelway designed and designated by signing or signing and marking for bicycle use, located within its own right-of-way or in a shared right-of-way and physically separated from motor vehicle traffic by berm,shoulder, curb or other similar device.
    • (d) Bicycle Way –
      • (1) “Bicycle Way” means:
        • (i) Any trail, path, part of a highway, surfaced or smooth shoulder, or sidewalk; or
        • (ii) Any other travelway specifically signed, marked, or otherwise designated for bicycle travel.

      • (2) “Bicycle Way” includes:
        • (i) Bicycle Path; and
        • (ii) Bike Lane.

    • (e) Bike Lane – “Bike Lane” means any portion of a roadway or shoulder designated for single (corrected from "signal") directional bicycle flow.


    Second, this is the law requiring cyclists to ride in bike lanes in Maryland:
    21-1205.1 Bicycles, motor scooters, and EPAMD’s prohibited on certain roadways and highways; speed limit.

    • (a) In general - Notwithstanding any other provision of this title, a person may not ride a bicycle or motor scooter;
      • (1) On any roadway where the posted maximum speed limit is more than 50 miles per hour [Cyclists may operate on the shoulder of a roadway where the posted speed limit exceeds 50 mph unless otherwise prohibited.]; or
      • (2) On any expressway, except on an adjacent bicycle path or way approved by the State Highway Administration, or on any other controlled access highway signed in accordance with 21-313 of this title.

    • (b) Roadway with bike lane or shoulder paved to a smooth surface.
      • (1) Where there is a bike lane paved to a smooth surface or a shoulder paved to a smooth surface [COMAR October 29, 1979 defines smooth surface as a surface that has a texture equal to or better than the adjacent roadway and if the surface contains undulations which are no longer than the adjacent roadway.], a person operating a bicycle or a motor scooter shall use the bike lane or shoulder and may not ride on the roadway, except in the following situations:
        • (i) When overtaking and passing another bicycle, motor scooter, pedestrian, or other vehicle within the bike lane or shoulder
        • (ii) When preparing for a left turn at an intersection or into an alley, private road, or driveway;
        • (iii) When reasonably necessary to leave the bike lane or shoulder to avoid debris or other hazardous condition; or
        • (iv) When reasonably necessary to leave the bike lane or shoulder because the bike lane or shoulder is overlaid with a right turn lane, merge lane, or other marking that breaks the continuity of the bike lane or shoulder.

      • (2) A person operating a bicycle or a motor scooter may not leave a bike lane or shoulder until the movement can be made with reasonable safety and the only after giving an appropriate signal.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dasgeh View Post
    I could see a video (less snarky than the NY one) that demonstrates why someone would bike in the travel lane when there's a bike lane. It could demonstrate the door zone, the blocked lane, the bike-lane-is-about-to-end-and-I-can-safely-get-over-now, passing another cyclist (or jogger, grrr), bad pavement, and the left turn [others?]. For the why-not-bike-on-the-path question, it could demonstrate the crowded path, the that's a really big hill and the road is pancake flat (I'm thinking of you, beginning of the W&OD), the I'm going somewhere on this block.
    This is good stuff.

    Two more big reasons I often use a travel lane in lieu of the bike lane:

    1) to keep a safe distance from oblivious pedestrians (who are CONSTANTLY stepping into bike lanes without looking)
    2) better visibility at intersections / driveways, to minimize risk of right-cross, right-hook, left-cross, etc. (If not well-designed, many bike lanes are more dangerous than the general travel lane.)
    Last edited by scoot; 09-27-2016 at 04:56 PM. Reason: fixed to address LOTM's point

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    Quote Originally Posted by scoot View Post
    This is good stuff.

    Two more big reasons I often use a travel lane in lieu of the bike lane:

    1) to keep a safe distance from oblivious pedestrians (who are CONSTANTLY stepping into bike lanes without looking)
    2) better visibility at intersections / driveways, to minimize risk of right-cross, right-hook, left-cross, etc. (If not well-designed, many bike lanes are more dangerous than the road.)
    Quibble. The bike lane is part of the road (unless it is a Dutch style one elevated up above the road). You mean they can be more dangerous than the general travel lanes.

    Note also - I frequently see people on bikes riding in the door zone in places where there is no bike lane - especially where traffic volumes are high and fast. I have even seen that on marshalled WABA rides. I consider doing that more dangerous than riding in a bike lane because a conventional bike lane should at least signal to people in parked cars to expect bikes. (OTOH bike lanes are often striped on slower roads where taking the general travel lane is less uncomfortable).

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    Thanks for the discussion on this--you all brought up some great points. I'm going to see what we can come up with to distill this into a friendly, share-able message. I'll let you know what comes of it!

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    Click image for larger version. 

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    This page from Bikeyface's new book reminded me of this thread, so I thought I'd share it here. I particularly enjoy the pothole monsters hungry for bikes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by trailrunner View Post
    This is a good message that needs to get out. One of my worst experiences as a cyclist was when I was riding on South Arlington Mill Drive near Shirlington. An Arlington police officer stopped his car, got out, and told me to get on the Four Mile Run bike path because bikes HAD TO use the path. When I hesitated and said "huh?", he made it clear that he was going to pound the everliving stuff out of me if I didn't comply immediately. I did indeed comply, and then called the police department to suggest that they better educate their officers. That was a while ago, so hopefully things have gotten better. I've had other incidents over mandatory bike-path misconceptions use that were less life-threatening, so yeah, this is a recurring issue.
    Errors by cops are so common that DDOT's bike manual has a list of actual errors made and what the cop got wrong. This proves two things: the cops need to study up, and DDOT is frickin' awesome and bold sometimes.

    Starting on page 15:

    http://ddot.dc.gov/sites/default/fil...de-Oct2012.pdf

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