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Thread: On the value of bike lanes

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    Default On the value of bike lanes

    Leaving this here. It needs a political aspect added to it. To me, it's easy to get bike lanes added to roads where they are not needed. It's the roads where the cars protest too much we need infrastructure.


    http://www.davemabe.com/2017/05/09/d...ue-bike-lanes/

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    lordofthemark's Avatar
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    Yes we should prioritize them on faster roads - and bike advocates are trying, and sometimes winning - but in addition to the issue of road space for drivers, faster roads need better lanes, ideally PBL's, not just conventional striped lanes, so are more expensive. But

    They segregate cyclists lowering their status and making them “second class” citizens on the road

    An ideological point without meaning, IMO.

    Ensure that cyclists ride in the least visible and most dangerous part of the road – often quite literally “in the shadows”

    My observation suggests that most newbie cyclists ride there anyway, or even worse, swerve in between parked cars. Even some experienced cyclists, even marshals on WABA rides, will ride in the door zone on certain roads (without bike lanes).

    A line on the edge of the road makes motorists feel more comfortable and end up causing increased vehicle speeds than they otherwise would

    On the contrary, by narrowing the general travel lane, bike lanes will slow or otherwise calm traffic. They are often put where they are precisely to do that, for the benefit of pedestrians, more than for cyclists (though slower speeds also help cyclists) An interesting case are the lanes on King south of Janneys in Alexandria. They did not do much to slow speeds, but they led to a significant decrease in collisions - apparently with the lanes narrower, drivers pay more attention.


    A bike lane on neighborhood streets with driveways and intersections introduces more conflict points (as cars back out of driveways they tend to look in the middle of the road where cars would be – a bike lane purposefully takes bikes out of that high visibility area!)

    Again, newb cyclists tend to ride in such places anyway. Maybe a well placed sharrows can help, but I don't think that is always the case. Also in many cases in the absence of the bike lane newbies will often take the sidewalk, where the conflicts are far worse.

    The existence of a bike lane causes buildup of road debris that would otherwise be naturally pushed to the side of the road by car traffic – you end up with a worse riding surface for bikes

    Well that I have no good answer for - when I ride in a bike lane I just have to be careful for debris. Of course general travel lanes with no bike lanes also require attention - they may not have as much in the way of twigs and litter, but they can have huge potholes, etc.

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    When we paint bike lanes on quiet neighborhood streets what does it say to the community? It says that the town has looked at this quiet street with hardly any traffic and 20mph speed limits and concluded that it is SO dangerous that we need bike infrastructure on it.

    We don't really have streets signed at 20MPH in Virginia, AFAICT. There is IIUC some debate if they are legal under Va law and the Dillon rule. So we are talking about 25MPH, even on the quietest neighborhood streets. AFAICT in Alexandria we almost never put bike lanes on the quietest side streets in places with grids like Del Ray and Old Town. However lots of 25MPH "streets" get traffic going much faster than that, and heavy traffic. Either they are the only roads that connect (because no grid) or they are one of the more heavily used streets in the grid. I think those will be more like the roads cited in the American studies, than the quiet back streets of the Belgian study.

    Also I just don't buy that drivers in a place with bike lanes are more likely to think bikes don't belong on the road. In fact in the absence of data proving that, I would suggest it is b*lls**t. I have had the worst motorist encounters in places with no bike lanes. In Annandale crossing the bridge on LRT someone yelled to get on the sidewalk (in fact that was impossible the sidewalk was closed for construction). On the eastern shore near blackwater wildlife refuge, someone in a pick up truck honked at us. By contrast, in DC, with its multitude of bike lanes, when I ride on a quiet grid street with no bike lanes, in the center of the general travel lane, no one seems to have a problem with that.

    Basically a subset of drivers are jerks to bikers (or jerks in general). That is more about culture than infrastructure - and if there is anything we can do about it, it is - yes, safety in numbers. Getting newbs onto bikes, means more drivers who bike, or who know people who do. So yeah, I have no shame about the safety in numbers argument.

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