Can someone ‘splain this?

sharrow on thompson

It’s pretty clear that a car and a bike cannot fit side by side in this lane, right? Considering a 5 foot door zone from the parking lane on either side, the safest space is in the center of the lane. So, why is the sharrow marking placed on one side of the lane (and partially in the door zone)?

Here’s another one.

gore stripe on the wrong side

green lane on grandWhat’s the primary hazard? A suddenly-appearing fixed object, or overtaking traffic? On the Grand St. bike path (right), the buffer area is used to keep bikes out of the door zone. Why not for the bike lane above?

As free and strong as we are in America, we are influenced by what we encounter every day. — Dr. Deborah Cohen

Environmental cues are powerful. They shape our perceptions. They can reinforce our mythologies, bias and bad belief systems, or they can challenge them.

As bike planners are learning in Long Beach, challenging the mythologies is no walk in the park. The culture of speed and car dominance is not going to give up its stranglehold without a few temper tantrums. But refusing to challenge them, or worse, actively reinforcing them will only ensure the endless subordination of bicycle drivers.

I’m writing from NYC, where LisaB will be running her first marathon tomorrow.

5 replies
  1. Mighk
    Mighk says:

    As I saw in a recent video, the NYC bike czar said they put their sharrows 11 ft. from the curb. Why? Because it’s the closest a cyclist should be to parked cars? No, because the minimum standard for sharrow placement in the MUTCD is 11 ft. and many designers habitually use the minimums with bikeway design. (That’s a standard I and some other professionals fought against; sure enough here it is being misused.)

    The rationale for the wrong-side buffer is that passenger doors less frequently than driver-side doors do. true, but still, why increase the risk?

    Oh yeah, fear of overtaking motorists.

    Makes me glad my job title is no longer “Bicycle & Pedestrian Coordinator.”

    • Keri
      Keri says:

      I didn’t bring a bike.

      I’ve seen a lot of people riding though — mostly on roads without facilities. I’ve seen a few Effective cyclists, they looked a lot safer and more comfortable than the many “improvisers.” Lot’s of wrong-way, sidewalk and curb/door-hugging. Red light-running and threading through a wall of pedestrians in a crosswalk is pretty normal, too.

      Seems like a lot more bike racks than last time I was here. Some interesting ones with benches around them on Broadway. I took pics of that.

      I’m going to go out and walk on the river path shortly. That looks like a really nice facility.

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