Tuesday, August 30, 2011

More on Astonishing New Bike Lane, or, Whose Turf Is This, Anyway?

I'd like to thank Neale for his comment and picture below. Several people have sent me emails complaining that the bike lane is gone, even if temporarily.

I've publicly worried about whether adding bike lanes to this last section of Diamond Drive, south of Sandia/Orange, is a double edged sword. Too many cyclists (and motorists) use these stripes as a crutch or as some sort of political validation. The stripe will set you free.  If you are a cyclist, this is "your" turf. If you are a motorist, that is "their" turf. What is this, Sharks vs. Jets?

But white paint doesn't have magical properties. As Neale says, we should be riding and driving according to good traffic safety practice. If these stripes really did have magical properties, they would actually move with you according to the prevailing traffic situation, i.e., presence of traffic, debris, right and left turns, etc. But they don't, and therefore they sometimes send a mixed or downright hazardous message. Besides, paint doesn't deflect a car driven by someone with his nose buried in a Droid or Blackberry.

I've told LANL cyclists to be careful south of Orange/Sandia. Those stripes are invitations to right hook incidents, and we have had a few. Take Neale's advice seriously-- position your bike as though there was no stripe at all. Yes, that will require some constant observation and integrated analysis. The analysis, in turn, will keep you out of trouble more than the stripes ever will. Plus, you can watch West Side Story on TV rather than living it out while riding your bike in traffic.


Steve A said...

I'd agree with "ride as if the stripe isn't there, but also keep in mind that most traffic WILL be affected by it." What is more, some places that line can get you arrested and jailed.

Khal said...

That is why if a stripe is there, it has to be a thoughtfully designed one.

Steve A said...

Personally, I think you will be disappointed if you expect motorist transportation engineers to thoughtfully provide such. It is beyond their training, experience, and interest. But you know all this already.