It’s hard to imagine…
that in the information age, any city could do such a heinous, backwards thing as stripe a 3-foot door zone bike lane.
But once you get your head around it. You’ll have an idea of just what we’re up against.
There it is
Here are some choice quotes from the article: Cyclists getting a bike lane along Chapel Street.
Although not quite as wide as a standard bike lane, the new paths will be three-feet wide, enough to separate cyclists from the neighborhood’s parked cars and the traffic on the roads.
Tom Bradford, director of the bike advocacy group Charleston Moves, was at the announcement with a camera around his neck and a big grin on his face, looking like a proud papa at a graduation ceremony. He says the guide markings are an important first step toward a more bike-friendly city.
Please God, save us from the bike advocates.
As if the AASHTO standards didn’t suck enough
In order to accommodate the three-foot bike lanes, as well as on-street parking and two lanes of traffic, a road has to be at least 40 feet wide. [Traffic Director Hernan] Pena adds, “Most of our streets just don’t have the width.”
Here’s what that looks like.
- AASHTO Design Vehicle — 24” wide bicycle + driver (excludes trikes, which are wider)
- The AASHTO Guide says, “… bicyclists require at least 1.0 m (40 inches) of essential operating space based solely on their profile.” This 40 inches includes a bicyclist actual width plus additional maneuvering space. It does not take into account needed clearances from fixed objects or moving motor vehicles. — Wayne Pein, How Wide Should a Wide Lane Be?
- MINIMUM recommended wheel track for cyclists — 5’ from parked cars
No, wait. It gets better.
The city hopes the new lanes will help Charleston motorists remember that they are sharing the road with cyclists. “These bicycle guide markings will create a designated place for bicyclists to ride safely,” says Mayor Joe Riley. “Cyclists operating carefully and motorists operating carefully can coexist in a wonderful urban environment.”
I kept checking the header, in hopes I was reading the Onion. I wanted so much to laugh at the joke. OK, I guess politicians rely on the professionals in their respective departments to give them good information and not embarrass them.
Still clinging to hope, I clicked a link to the follow-up article: Cycling commuters react to new bike lanes.
In the past, Richard Moss says he has put the mirror on his helmet to good use in order to avoid cars on his ride down Chapel Street. “Now, I’ll be able to just settle into the bike lane,” he says. But Moss and other cyclists note that the lanes are still narrow and they’ll be weary [sic] of parked cars and the stray doors that swing open in front of cyclists.
But they’ll ride there anyway. The city didn’t add any space to the road, they just painted off part of the area where motorists don’t drive anyway.
Shawn Leberknight says he doesn’t commute on his bike much now, but a city proposal to resurface Morrison Drive and add some bike lanes will improve the trip when he does. “The biggest reason why many people see commuting by bicycle as ‘crazy’ is because they fear being on the road next to vehicles with drivers who honk and intimidate them,” Leberknight says. “I have my fair share of horror stories.” He says bike lanes can help protect cyclists, but more education is needed so drivers understand what it means to share the road.”
Yes, more education is needed. But where do you begin?
Is it really too much for policy makers and bike advocates to inform themselves about the best practices of bicycling? The world is full of information and stories of dead cyclists. The danger of riding in the door zone is hardly debatable. I can’t think of a single rationale to excuse advocating and celebrating such a substandard and unequivocally-deadly facility in the name of “protecting cyclists.”