Day 132: Protected bike lanes – good or bad?

15 05 2010

A share lane in Vancouver. Photo courtesy / Carl Sundstrom


I read recently on Broken Sidewalk, a local blog about neighborhood news, a discussion of whether adding a protected bike lane to the very busy 2nd Street bridge is a good or bad idea. The 2nd Street bridge is the only way to ride across the river into Indiana. After a cyclist was killed on the bridge a few years ago, the city made the right lanes share lanes in each direction. Unfortunately, the sharrows that were painted on the street are now starting to fade and are mostly useless. As I drove across the bridge a couple weeks ago, I realized the only “share lane” signs visible on the bridge are at the beginning of the lane as I first started across the bridge. No other signage is visible on other parts of the bridge and if I didn’t already know the sharrows were painted on the pavement, I wouldn’t have noticed them. There is a narrow sidewalk on each side of the bridge, but with pedestrian traffic, it makes it difficult (and dangerous) to ride a bike on the sidewalk. Not to mention that riding a bike on the sidewalk is illegal in Louisville. 

Would a protected bike lane solve the problem? I know many cities do have protected bike lanes, but I wonder do they contribute to a safer ride or do they give cyclists a false sense of security? (Particularly the kind of lanes that are protected by concrete barriers). I can certainly see their benefit in very congested areas, but overall, I think protected bike lanes give cyclists as well as motorists a false sense of security. I don’t see how they would help motorists and cyclists learn to share the road. I think they would encourage motorists to become even more frustrated with cyclists when they see us riding in a regular traffic lane, as we are entitled to do. 

What are your thoughts? Are there protected bike lanes in your city? Do they make you feel safer, or less safe? How do motorists react to them? 

Today’s food journal: 

— Chocolate Mint Builder Bar = 270 cal. 

— Jimmy John’s Slim Turkey sandwich = 401
— BBQ chips = 160
— Iced tea = 0 

— Grilled cheese sandwich on wheatberry bread = 431
— 1 cup potato salad = 358
— Iced tea = 0 

Snack (before bike ride):
— Chocolate Builder Bar = 270 

— 30 minute bike ride, 6.6 miles at 12 mph average = 290 calories burned 

Life is a journey. Enjoy the ride. 

…( ) / ( ) 

Thanks for visiting.




2 responses

15 05 2010

unfortunately i don’t know if the second street bridge has room for bike lanes on it. it’s pretty tight right now. i work in jeffersonville and have thought of biking to work on fridays and that death on the bridge is the reason behind my reservations.

as far as bike lanes in general go, i love roads that have them because you don’t have drivers trying to squeeze you off the road or riding your butt behind you. however regardless of the bike lanes, the cyclist needs to keep in mind that the lanes aren’t a guarantee of their safety and we need to always be aware of the drivers around us since they tend to forget about us!

16 05 2010

Thanks for your comment, Christina. I agree that as cyclists we need to always be aware of what’s going on around us. We can hope that motorists will keep an eye out for us, but we all get distracted at times. It is nice to ride in the bike lane on Main Street where I feel much safer than, say, on Bardstown Road where there is less room (and no bike lane). In fact, I avoid Bardstown Road and ride back streets instead. I guess we all need to ride where we’re comfortable and stay aware of our surroundings. Thanks for visiting and for your comment.

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