Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Death to bike lanes?

The Tigard (Oregon) city council just voted to amend city planning codes to NOT require bike paths on specific downtown streets.

BikePortland.org has the details.

In the comments there was a lot of fuss and bother about how Tigard has magically become bike-hostile.

However, the city's planning manage had some very rational sounding reasons for the amendments.

I don't really care for bike lanes. I think they're terrible and often filled with debris. After the winter storms, they are filled with gravel and go from annoying to hazardous. Furthermore, bicyclists just become invisible to cars once in the bike lane.

The best solution is education! Everyone must understand that they are sharing the road and must learn how to do that effectively.

It can be done. Bike lanes are not the answer. They're really only a "band-aid" that make people feel like they're being taken care of.


orc said...

Bike lanes aren't a perfect solution, but at least they reserve 3-5 feet of additional lane so that slower moving traffic can move to the right to allow people to pass.

In a downtown it might not be so important (if Tigard is trying to get people to slow the eff down in the remains of downtown, more power to them) but there are lots of places around town where the automobile traffic goes 40 mph whilst my xtracycle plods along at 5-20mph. And there it's only civil to be able to get out of the way if I can.

And I'm pleased to report that at least in Multnomah and Clackamas county the vast majority of the drivers will swerve *way* out of the way even if I'm in a bike lane or on the shoulder.

I do wish that the DOT would get it into their tiny little heads that shoulders and bike lanes need to be swept periodically, but that's just a matter of pestering them (when I worked downtown, I had a coworker who rode in from a distant SW suburb, and his daily routine would start with a phone call to the road department listing every place where there was either junk on the road or someone using the bike lane as a parking spot) until they figure it out.

Susan said...

Honest to goodness bike lanes provide space for bikes with some separation from cars. I like them. The problem is that many "bike lanes" are really just striped off gutters, filled with glass, grates, and debris. One of my biggest cycling pet peeves!