Saturday, November 23, 2013

Its "AFLAN" Season Again (As Far Left As Neccesary)

Bike Lane on Canyon in wet winter conditions.
Ice, especially after road salting or in the evening and 
morning, add to winter's hazards. Shaded or 
topographically low lanes, 
such as this one, get the brunt of ice.
I took this picture a couple years ago after a winter storm, over on Canyon near the Catholic Church. Once again, due to a storm that could dump as much as a foot of snow over the next couple days, we can expect snow, ice, plowed snow, and other conditions to be present that will make some or all of the bike lanes, road shoulders, and in general, the areas near the right side of outboard lanes unfit for riding much of the time. Therefore, both bicyclists and motorists need to be aware that cyclists will be riding As Far Left As Necessary for our safe passage.

 If you get out the two wheeler to get around town, be equipped for winter conditions and be careful out there. Don't feel compelled to ride on bike lanes like the one shown here or to try to thread the needle along the edge of ice and deep snow. AFRAP means as far right as practicable, (our AFRAP law in Los Alamos is pretty accommodating to adverse conditions). AFRAP does not mean to ride as far right as is suicidal.

If you are out in your four wheeler, be prepared for that road to be a little bit narrower than the last time you saw it; you really will have to "share the travel lane" even if it had a bike lane yesterday. Regardless of who you are, take it easy and don't get on each other's case.

Meanwhile, what trees that are left up there in the mountains are rejoicing at the moisture and I already feel my cross country skis calling me.


Steve A said...

Isn't EVERY day an "AFLAN" day? In summer, other things obstruct those bike lanes.

John said...

Besides agreeing with Steve (notwithstanding that the law does say AFRAP, unfortunately), I also realized a few winters ago that in addition to the obvious surface condition problems, winter in places that get a LOT of snow that doesn't melt right away, like Maine, can also have sightline problems due to high snow piles on corners. Sometimes after a large storm, every corner is a blind spot, so further left is also very necessary for vantage. Basically, in the middle or left of the lane much more often than not IS "as far right as practicable [and SAFE!]" in the winter.

Khal said...

The law does say AFRAP, unfortunately. Hence my toying with acronyms. Winter around Los Alamos presents challenges beyond the usual summer ones. That was my main point. AFRAP mentally pushes cyclists into a corner. AFLAN turns that mentality a tad on its head.

Steve A said...

Interestingly, the GENERAL AFRAP law in Washington State differs from its "practicable" Texas equivalent. Washington requires traveling on "the right half of the road." No word on what to do if the vehicle is more than half the width of the road.