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Advisory bike lanes

Old 01-24-22, 08:09 AM
  #26  
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Originally Posted by Korina View Post
Would it? You don't think taking away the center striping would encourage drivers to go slower and more cautiously? Full disclosure: I came thisclose to getting my license a quarter century ago, so my car perspective is as a passenger.

Tl;dr, I'm just whining.
It's a frustrating fact that despite living in a rural area surrounded by forest, there are very few places to ride ( not counting mtb trails) that aren't cluttered by cars, usually going well over the speed limit. All of our side streets go straight up for 1/10 mile and end in someone's driveway. There's one particular road, West End Rd., that's popular with cyclists for its beauty. It's rural residential, so plenty of traffic; despite being barely two lanes wide, with 3" to 6" shoulders and sections that are winding and rolling, drivers feel comfortable going alarmingly fast. It's those parts that make it unsuitable for edge lane treatment, no matter how I try to twist it in my brain.

I have no way of knowing if it would make drivers more or less cautious--the reason they don't recommend these for high traffic/higher speed roads is that it actually increases close encounters between oncoming cars. That's ok if you have a lot of visibility and time to react, but as soon as those factors decrease, the crash rate will go up.. My point was with mr_bill 's implication that lack of data about cyclists getting hurt was an indicator that the arrangement doesn't harm cyclists. My point, which I might have buried, is that lack of data doesn't tell us that at all. No news is no news..

As a driver, I would find that dotted line to the right very confusing as it doesn't conform with how a dotted line is usually employed on U.S. roads. TBH, the more I'm looking at this "solution", the less I'm liking it. The Cambridge example mr_bill was pointing to really exposes the problems with it nicely--people who have to use those roads in their neighborhood hate it because it really isn't clearly telling anyone to do anything differently than they would have already, and the residents preferred sharrows as at least they told everybody where they are supposed to be.
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Old 01-24-22, 10:51 AM
  #27  
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maybe painting images of debris [tires, broken bottles, diapers, cones, crushed car bumpers, beer cans] on those bicycle lanes would be more effective.
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Old 01-24-22, 03:10 PM
  #28  
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Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
As a driver, I would find that dotted line to the right very confusing as it doesn't conform with how a dotted line is usually employed on U.S. roads. TBH, the more I'm looking at this "solution", the less I'm liking it. The Cambridge example mr_bill was pointing to really exposes the problems with it nicely--people who have to use those roads in their neighborhood hate it because it really isn't clearly telling anyone to do anything differently than they would have already, and the residents preferred sharrows as at least they told everybody where they are supposed to be.
The dotted lines are everywhere on bike lanes when approaching intersections, and everyone generally gets the point. I think ELRs would be a bit like roundabouts; when my city was proposing to put them in, "concerned" citizens were certain they would cause crashes, chaos on the streets, people would die! There was a learning curve, but now everyone negotiates them like they've always been there.

As for sharrows, I'd rather have "bikes may use full lane" signs or paint. Less opportunity to interpret it as "bikes stay out of my way".
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Old 01-24-22, 08:25 PM
  #29  
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Originally Posted by Korina View Post
As for sharrows, I'd rather have "bikes may use full lane" signs.
IMHO it should be "bicycles shall use full lane"
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Old 01-24-22, 08:41 PM
  #30  
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Originally Posted by UniChris View Post
IMHO it should be "bicycles shall use full lane"
Maybe you, but I can't keep up with traffic, and pissing off a yahoo in a giant pickup isn't my idea of fun.
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Old 01-24-22, 08:45 PM
  #31  
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Originally Posted by Korina View Post
Maybe you, but I can't keep up with traffic, and pissing off a yahoo in a giant pickup isn't my idea of fun.
This is a common misconception.

Where the sign goes up, it's because there isn't room for a safe squeeze pass.

So you should take the lane.

Now, if oncoming traffic is so incessant that there isn't an opportunity to be passed using the opposite lane, then it's prudent to start looking for the best opportunity to let those bottled up behind you safely pass and begin receding into the distance.

But the point is that you get to pick that spot.

"I want you gone - and I'm going to find you the first plausible opportunity to be" is the message we should be sending.

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Old 01-24-22, 09:00 PM
  #32  
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Originally Posted by UniChris View Post
This is a common misconception.

Where the sign goes up, it's because there isn't room for a safe squeeze pass.

So you should take the lane.

Now, if oncoming traffic is so incessant that there isn't an opportunity to be passed using the opposite lane, then it's prudent to start looking for the best opportunity to let those bottled up behind you safely pass and begin receding into the distance.

But the point is that you get to pick that spot.

"I want you gone - and I'm going to find you the first plausible opportunity to be" is the message we should be sending.
When it's appropriate, like in a roundabout or a narrow street, I do take the lane, but mostly I'm off to the side. I'm thinking of K St., which is a major arterial for us (when I say 'for us', Arcata doesn't have any stoplights; we're that small), and usually has fairly heavy traffic. Two lanes, on-street parking both sides, and sharrows; when there's a gap in the parked cars I scoot over and wave them on. Our drivers are surprisingly polite as drivers go; 99% of our traffic collisions are car on parked car or fender benders.
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Old 01-24-22, 09:03 PM
  #33  
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Originally Posted by Korina View Post
Two lanes, on-street parking both sides, and sharrows
You do realize that "sharrows" are an instruction to take the lane, right?

You're literally supposed to ride over the point of the chevrons.

No argument that "sharrows suck" but they get painted when it's officially realized that taking the lane is the only sane choice.

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Old 01-24-22, 09:32 PM
  #34  
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Originally Posted by Korina View Post
The dotted lines are everywhere on bike lanes when approaching intersections, and everyone generally gets the point. I think ELRs would be a bit like roundabouts; when my city was proposing to put them in, "concerned" citizens were certain they would cause crashes, chaos on the streets, people would die! There was a learning curve, but now everyone negotiates them like they've always been there.

As for sharrows, I'd rather have "bikes may use full lane" signs or paint. Less opportunity to interpret it as "bikes stay out of my way".

As a cyclist, if I see those dotted lines approaching an intersection, I'm absolutely getting out of that bike lane and taking the traffic lane, just as I would at any other intersection where a right hook is likely. I wouldn't care what the " legal" rule is, I'm not hanging out on the most dangerous position in the intersection just because someone put a lane in a stupid place. Anyway, dotted lines on US roads generally indicates a division between lanes, not "you can slop over here a bit if you need to".

I don't think the comparison to traffic circles makes any sense at all. They don't involve putting two vehicles heading in opposite directions in the same lane, and don't use lane markers in a manner that doesn't conform with their general use. Given that ELRs are only suitable for a very small category of roads, I think having eccentric rules contradictory to general practice is bound to be confusing wherever it's employed. We get used to traffic circles because all cars driving in the same direction is very easy to grasp the first time you see it. If there's any thing more than very, very low levels of traffic (where markings probably don't matter much either way), I don't see the markings on an ELR providing any clear guidance at all.
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Old 01-25-22, 12:42 AM
  #35  
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You guys make some very good points. I'm not particularly an advocate for this, just thought it was interesting and worth exploring.

Be prepared, I'll be posting more advocacy topics, as I don't really have anyone knowledgeable to discuss it with, and I'm a bit bored of "this horrific crash and who's responsible!"
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Old 01-26-22, 05:29 AM
  #36  
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Originally Posted by UniChris View Post
Ö.No argument that "sharrows suck" but they get painted when it's officially realized that taking the lane is the only sane choice.
If only that were true.

Houston rebuilt a major arterial with 15í outside lanes, 35 mph, and then painted sharrrows centered more than 5í from the edge. If you ride over center you arenít FRAP per Texas law. It isnít pretty.

A lot of infrastructure gets a bad reputation because it is used the wrong situation. We need a big toolkit and we need to then use the best tool for the job. Since our officials and designers are inexperienced, we need to work with them.

Itís going to take time and effort.
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Old 01-26-22, 08:13 AM
  #37  
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Originally Posted by flangehead View Post
If only that were true.

Houston rebuilt a major arterial with 15í outside lanes, 35 mph, and then painted sharrrows centered more than 5í from the edge. If you ride over center you arenít FRAP per Texas law. It isnít pretty
Sounds like the highway engineers believe FRAP would be a mistake there. It rather often is a mistaken way to ride.

With two lanes in a given direction, sharrows would be placed in the right hand one in a position to preclude in-lane passing. Drivers are supposed to change lanes to pass you - it's another version of the "cyclists may use full lane" sign, but goes further and makes it "cyclists shall use full lane"

If there were formally enough space for safe in lane passing, they'd have painted bike lanes, not sharrows.

Painting sharrows overrides any ill-conceived FRAP law, since the cyclist is now in a designated place. Making an exemption to a stupid law could be exactly why they did it.

​​​​​​

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Old 01-26-22, 08:27 AM
  #38  
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Originally Posted by Korina View Post
You guys make some very good points. I'm not particularly an advocate for this, just thought it was interesting and worth exploring.

Be prepared, I'll be posting more advocacy topics, as I don't really have anyone knowledgeable to discuss it with, and I'm a bit bored of "this horrific crash and who's responsible!"

Totally on board with this, it's nice to actually discuss the ideas instead of wading through 24 pages of confirmation biased interpretations of carnage.

I think the contrast between this solution and the traffic circle brings up a broader issue, btw, that might be worth discussing. My instinctive reaction is that the traffic circle is such a robust solution that it overcomes the "QWERTY" problem--i.e., where an inelegant arrangement can't be replaced because the learning curve and replacement costs for the new arrangement are too high while ELR won't because it's too limited in applicability for the exceptional markings not to be confusing, thus the learning curve will never be surmounted.

BTW, traffic circles also have their own QWERTY problem--they can only be installed in places where there's enough land available to install them, and often the existing ROW is insufficient and can't be altered.

So I think this brings up an issue that mr_bill would be a whole hell of a lot more qualified to discuss than I would, which is when discussing a change in infrastructure or road rules, isn't the first question that needs to be answered "how will this change graft onto the existing infrastructure?"
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Old 01-26-22, 09:16 AM
  #39  
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Originally Posted by UniChris View Post
ÖPainting sharrows overrides any ill-conceived FRAP law, since the cyclist is now in a designated placeÖ.
​​​​​​
Does it really?

In Texas Sec. 551.103. OPERATION ON ROADWAY I see no such override. I may be missing a legal definition, and it is possible that a different part of the transportation code does grant MUTCD override. So Iím open to evidence.

Let me be clear I think legal niceties come in a far second to real safety.

However, over the long term, the laws must be adapted to align with real safety.

(In the case of my road the sharrows were not due to the unquestionable wisdom of the designers. It was due to a CF.)
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Old 01-26-22, 10:04 AM
  #40  
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Originally Posted by flangehead View Post
In Texas Sec. 551.103. OPERATION ON ROADWAY I see no such override. I may be missing a legal definition, and it is possible that a different part of the transportation code does grant MUTCD override. So I’m open to evidence.


Let's look at the obvious exceptions first:
(4) the person is operating a bicycle in an outside lane that is:

(A) less than 14 feet in width and does not have a designated bicycle lane adjacent to that lane;  or
You said the project had 15 foot lanes, if that came from an engineering drawing maybe, if it came from a visual perception this could possibly apply

(B) too narrow for a bicycle and a motor vehicle to safely travel side by side.
As that (or avoiding a door zone from designated parking) are precisely why sharrows are used, their presence on the roadway would be an official determination that there is indeed insufficient space for parallel travel.
In the case of my road the sharrows were not due to the unquestionable wisdom of the designers.

I expect this opinion is based on not having sufficiently considered the various design guidelines that lead to that official determination. A lot of road projects are by now required to include bicycle accomodation, which means that they end up with sharrows when there isn't room to put in a bike lane - which would typically work out to needing about 12 for the cars, 6 for the bikes and 3 for buffer. If there's parking, a bike lane and its buffers take up just about as much space as a car lane.

This Houston-specific government document has some pretty good explanations and diagrams of how they're arriving at these determinations: https://houstonbikeplan.org/wp-conte...pter_Feb17.pdf

Also Texas DOT quotes the MUTCD in saying that sharrows should be at least 14 feet from the curb in the presence of parking and then goes on to say that they should be at least 4 feet from it without.

It was due to a CF.
Map location or name of the specific street so the rest of us can see?

And again, I'm not arguing that sharrows are good, rather that they're an official recognition of a bad situation where the only way clearance standards can be met is to take the lane.

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Old 01-26-22, 11:49 AM
  #41  
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Originally Posted by flangehead View Post
Does it really?

In Texas Sec. 551.103. OPERATION ON ROADWAY I see no such override. I may be missing a legal definition, and it is possible that a different part of the transportation code does grant MUTCD override. So Iím open to evidence.

Let me be clear I think legal niceties come in a far second to real safety.

However, over the long term, the laws must be adapted to align with real safety.

(In the case of my road the sharrows were not due to the unquestionable wisdom of the designers. It was due to a CF.)

"Practicable" is really a rule of reason, you are supposed to use your judgment reasonably in determining the practicable far right position. I can't imagine a jurisdiction that would find that reliance on the sharrow to determine where that position is would be unreasonable.
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Old 01-26-22, 12:13 PM
  #42  
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Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
I can't imagine a jurisdiction that would find that reliance on the sharrow to determine where that position is would be unreasonable.
I doubt we'd have to look far to find examples of police officers who would hold that view. And there are sadly likely occasional traffic court judges who would uphold them.

But if someone pursues the issue on appeal, no the actual legal system as a whole isn't going to find reliance on sharrows for positioning an unreasonable action.

This street level conflict of judgement is one of the reasons why FRAP laws need to be repealed - a Massachusetts style law that says you can use the full lane on any road where you're allowed to be present at all, even if there's a bike lane or path, is much, much clearer.
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Old 01-26-22, 12:36 PM
  #43  
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Originally Posted by UniChris View Post
I doubt we'd have to look far to find examples of police officers who would hold that view. And there are sadly likely occasional traffic court judges who would uphold them.

But if someone pursues the issue on appeal, no the actual legal system as a whole isn't going to find reliance on sharrows for positioning an unreasonable action.

This street level conflict of judgement is one of the reasons why FRAP laws need to be repealed - a Massachusetts style law that says you can use the full lane on any road where you're allowed to be present at all, even if there's a bike lane or path, is much, much clearer.

Really? I'm not aware of a lot of places where getting stopped for a FRAP violation happens much if at all. NYC maybe. I think you're going to be looking for a very long time for an incident where a cyclist got pulled over (let alone actually ticketed) for riding their bicycle over a sharrow that wasn't close to the right margin.

Question for flangehead --do people actually get pulled over for FRAP violations in Houston? I would think practically this is more a question of liability if, heaven forbid, someone is riding on this section of the road and gets hit.

I like sharrows, they're not perfect, but in my experience, they seem to be more effective than any sign.
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Old 01-26-22, 12:45 PM
  #44  
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Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
Really? I'm not aware of a lot of places where getting stopped for a FRAP violation happens much if at all. NYC maybe. I think you're going to be looking for a very long time for an incident where a cyclist got pulled over (let alone actually ticketed) for riding their bicycle over a sharrow that wasn't close to the right margin
We have a thread on it it complete with youtube video a street level debate with a police officer

https://www.bikeforums.net/advocacy-...full-lane.html
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Old 01-26-22, 02:06 PM
  #45  
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Originally Posted by UniChris View Post
...Map location or name of the specific street so the rest of us can see?....

I've sought input on the infrastructure side of this in the past. https://www.bikeforums.net/21563574-post14.html Since I closed my comments on that thread, sharrows have been painted on full length, though the distance between them is substandard.

As I mentioned, I'm much more interested in actual safety than the legalities...


Google maps is now relatively current; from https://www.google.com/maps/@29.7705...!3m1!1e3?hl=en to https://www.google.com/maps/@29.7743...!3m1!1e3?hl=en

Originally Posted by UniChris View Post
...You said the project had 15 foot lanes, if that came from an engineering drawing maybe, if it came from a visual perception this could possibly apply....


The 15' was with a Craftsman 25' tape measure in several places along the route. Measured from curb face to curb face. No on-street parking allowed or customary.

Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
"Practicable" is really a rule of reason, you are supposed to use your judgment reasonably in determining the practicable far right position....
OK, I like that. I tend to take the lane on most of the roads and streets I use so I'm very comfortable asserting practicability. However, there are sections of that road where there are few/no curb cuts and I couldn't testify that 3' from the right curb isn't practicable. So I would have to plead guilty if charged with a position not FRAP in those sections, under that standard.

Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
...Question for flangehead --do people actually get pulled over for FRAP violations in Houston? I would think practically this is more a question of liability if, heaven forbid, someone is riding on this section of the road and gets hit....
I am not aware of anyone in recent history being pulled over on FRAP violation.

And as I said, for me legalities are at the back of the bus compared to safety. However, infrastructure gets built that encourages users to break (technically) the law. Another example is riding on a sidewalk, which by City of Houston code is effectively illegal with 300 feet of a business or industrial property. But a recently built bike route puts users on a sidewalk right in front of a business. (And no, I'm not aware of anyone that has been pulled over for riding on a sidewalk...again, the law and actual practice are in separate worlds...)

And again to be clear, I ride for my safety. In the long-term I do think it best to synchronize the law with actual infrastructure and safe practice. Besides the general benefit of not contributing to the general contempt of laws, it matters in liability if/when a bad incident occurs as livedarklions points out.
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Old 01-26-22, 03:13 PM
  #46  
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Originally Posted by flangehead View Post
I've sought input on the infrastructure side of this in the past. https://www.bikeforums.net/21563574-post14.html Since I closed my comments on that thread, sharrows have been painted on full length, though the distance between them is substandard.

As I mentioned, I'm much more interested in actual safety than the legalities...


Google maps is now relatively current; from https://www.google.com/maps/@29.7705...!3m1!1e3?hl=en to https://www.google.com/maps/@29.7743...!3m1!1e3?hl=en


The 15' was with a Craftsman 25' tape measure in several places along the route. Measured from curb face to curb face. No on-street parking allowed or customary.
Thanks for sharing the details! It really helps that we have the same facts in mind when discussing the situation.

Taking your 15' number, the way I see it is this:

If I look in the PDF I linked earlier, they show an example of a 4' bike lane squeezed adjacent to a pair of 10' travel lanes, and basically conclude it's an example of an old and bad idea:

Existing 4’ Bike Lane / 10’ Travel Lanes Narrow distances between people biking and vehicles lead to conflicts and an uncomfortable and uninviting biking experience, particularly if there is a gutter or other debris that collects in the bike lane.
They then go on to look at a still squeezed configuration of a 6' bike lane and an 11' traffic lane - but note that's already exceeding the 15' you found.

And then they settle on the idea that what you really need, is a 6' bike lane, a 3' buffer, and a 12' travel lane... which in the case of Memorial drive isn't going to fit.

So then they fall back to the idea that if you have at least 14' for a lane, you can make it a shared one.

That's the logical path of reasoning that gets you from a dubious 4' bike lane besides 10' travel lane, to a 14 (or 15) foot shared lane.

It might or might not be the correct decision. Looking on streetview I relish neither riding in the gutter with cars whizzing by right next to me, nor having to go and boldly claim a lane on a busy road for an extended stretch. But I do think claiming it and making people use the left lane to pass is probably the smarter choice, and the city engineers seem to agree.

So I would have to plead guilty if charged with a position not FRAP in those sections, under that standard.
No, you'd point to the fact that the city engineers have applied a marking that's used specifically where there is insufficient space for side by side travel in the same lane.

The city's already declared that in their view, as "far right as practicable" is the middle of the lane.

Another example is riding on a sidewalk, which by City of Houston code is effectively illegal with 300 feet of a business or industrial property. But a recently built bike route puts users on a sidewalk right in front of a business.
A sign directing bicyclists onto a "sidewalk" that doesn't instruct them to dismount and walk may very well mean that bit of "sidewalk" is actually an under-spec MUP.

But yes, those situations can cause problems out in the real world: https://nyc.streetsblog.org/2013/11/...dge-bike-path/ (the tickets were later voided)

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Old 01-27-22, 05:26 AM
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livedarklions
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Originally Posted by UniChris View Post
We have a thread on it it complete with youtube video a street level debate with a police officer

https://www.bikeforums.net/advocacy-...full-lane.html

Sorry, but as far as I can tell, that's a "man bites dog" video from 5 years ago. I don't have any reason to believe that's a common occurrence.

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Old 01-27-22, 07:05 AM
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Originally Posted by UniChris View Post
...No, you'd point to the fact that the city engineers have applied a marking that's used specifically where there is insufficient space for side by side travel in the same lane. The city's already declared that in their view, as "far right as practicable" is the middle of the lane.


Well, there's a defense.

Getting back to the original purpose of this thread, I've seen enough to conclude that ELR is a potential treatment that should be in the "toolbox", just like sharrows. We don't get better mechanics by limiting the tools they can use, and just adding tools doesn't give us better mechanics.
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Old 01-27-22, 08:03 AM
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Originally Posted by flangehead View Post

Well, there's a defense.

Getting back to the original purpose of this thread, I've seen enough to conclude that ELR is a potential treatment that should be in the "toolbox", just like sharrows. We don't get better mechanics by limiting the tools they can use, and just adding tools doesn't give us better mechanics.

Maybe, but there's an argument to be made here that using a non-standard tool actually could weaken the usefulness of the tools you already have--I'm not sure I like the idea of creating different levels of protection in painted bike lanes, we already have a big enough problem with drivers treating mandatory bike lanes as "advisory when convenient".

And again, none of the data cited in the OP link suggests that this actually improves the safety of cyclists and pedestrians, only that there is a reduction in collisions between motor vehicles on a very narrow subset of roads.

This is entirely anecdotal, but my experience with sharrows is that the message they convey takes a pretty short time to sink in, and then drivers start to normalize the fact that on roads so marked, they can expect to find bikes in the lane. I've had a couple of arguments with drivers in the last few years (literally a couple) where they obviously knew they looked foolish when I pointed to the sharrow.
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Old 02-01-22, 08:19 AM
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I spoke of the brief period of time when there were advisory bike lanes on Scott Street, and how the local residents "HATED IT," "LOATHED IT."

I was very unfair. I was describing the most vocal residents. Ironically they were probably among the most educated. (They work around the corner at a very old University.)

Anyhow, I loved the advisory bike lanes that were there, but I also love the big green sharrows that are there now.

However, on another road in Cambridge, the advisory bike lanes live on and are actually well liked by most.

Images from Streetview, showing a "pass":



I LOVE LOVE LOVE that the driver of the SUV doesn't want to drive in the door zone either. And I LOVE LOVE LOVE that the driver of the Prius just casually takes the parking lane.

Now as far as statistically meaningful bicyclist safety data about these, there is next to none. Just like there is next to no statistically meaningful bicyclist safety data about taking the lane on stroads. That's a *DATA* problem.

What we have are more descriptive. There were no reports of people on bikes getting injured on Lakeview before the change. (Why? Because few people on bikes used Lakeview.) There are now many more people riding bikes on Lakeview, but still no reports of people on bikes getting injured. (Why? Probably because it's a pretty safe way to share a road.) But it's added another much needed lower stress link to getting around by bicycle.

Finally, a white paper that discusses Scott Street (pre-rebellion) and Lakeview Ave in Cambridge, along with implementations in about a dozen other locations. Among them, Valley Rd in Hanover New Hampshire, still loved. (So please don't stereotype Ivy professors.)

-mr. bill

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