So, I should never have to write another word about inappropriate bicycle lanes every again — right? — because Keri Caffrey has made it clear just how wrong it is to paint any ol’ lines on the road and think you’re being an effective advocate for bicyclists.
Take a look, again, at this picture:
This is immoral. This lane puts bicyclists — especially novices — in grave danger of being doored (and squeezed). Doorings kill. What would you call sending a novice into a dangerous situation with the promise of safety?
I call it immoral.
I would never ride in that lane. NEVER. Why? Because I do not wish to die early from something as preventable as a dooring.
Check the statistics. Study after study demonstrates that hit-from-behind and sideswipes are the least of your worries (associated mostly with darkness and rural roads). The danger is in front of you at intersections, not with you or behind you on the street.
Now take another look at this graphic (click for original size):
Your safest route is in the lane as a normal part of traffic.
The danger in bicycling also comes from advocacy that would fool you about safety and put you at “death’s dooring” all for the sake of a few more numbers on the road.
One word: immoral.
[Note: Not all lanes are immoral because not all lanes are so poorly designed as the example above. It is my opinion that the number of situations in which lanes are appropriate is quite limited, so lanes should be a low priority in advocacy work. Want paint on the road? Think sharrows.]