Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Don't door me, bro!

Seattle, one of the country's most bicycle-friendly cities, is taking action on the problem of bikers being doored. For those who don't know, that's what happens when some guy who's just parked his car doesn't look before he opens his door to step out and an unsuspecting biker runs full on into the door suddenly in his path.

Here in Pittsburgh, we have a systemic setup for just that situation. The new bike lane that runs down Liberty Avenue in Bloomfield is set right up against the parking lane. It is, in my opinion, a death trap actually worse than the situation that proceeded it with no bike lane.

We were told we were going to get sharrows. A sharrow is a shared lane marking set outside the door-zone that indicates to cyclists where they should be riding to be safe from such things and indicates to motorists that bicycles are supposed to be out where they are, sharing the traffic lane with them.

Instead we got two lines that trap cyclists in a lane squarely within the door-zone. Additionally, the lines give motorists the mistaken impression that cyclists aren't allowed in "their" traffic lane and are to be segregated to the bike lane only.

I have heard rumors that the City is planning on fixing the lane but really, if you read the design guidelines you would have gotten it right in the first place.

1 comment:

icexe said...

Portland, OR probably has the best solution: dedicated bike-only lanes. Even in the heart of downtown you'll see a traffic lane specifically marked for cyclists. It looked a little scary at first, having a bike lane right down the middle of a busy thoroughfare, but from the amount of cyclists I see using them, I guess they're pretty safe.