Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Other Communities Debate Safety of Bike Lanes; It's Time for Indy's Recreational Bicycling Community to Be Concerned About Safety of Bike Lanes Here

On the heels of the announcement that the City is spending $10 million on 33 more miles of bike lanes, today the Indianapolis Star ran an editorial promoting the city bike lanes. Once again the Star simply assumes bike lanes make biking more safe, without any consideration of how those lanes are designed.  In fact, many bicyclists dispute the safety of bike lanes.  A quick google search on the Internet revealed these stories all of which are written by bicyclists:

If LA is Going to Invest in Bike Lanes, Do It Right!
Bicycle Blunders and Smarter Solutions
A dangerous and now deadly bicycle policy
Why Bike Lanes Are A Bad Idea
Dedicated Bike Lanes Can Make Cycling More Dangerous (by an IU-Indianapolis Law Professor)
Slated Bike Lanes 'Dangerous,' Local Athletic Director Believes
AASHTO and Door Zone Bike Lanes
More bike lanes?  No thanks.
Guest commentary:  Bike Lanes on Mass. Ave are not safe (article is about a street in Arlington,Massachusetts)

Unfortunately those in the Indianapolis recreational bicycling community are so thrilled that someone in government is finally paying attention to them, they refuse to engage the administration on the safety of those bike lanes.  In fact, many of the City's bike lanes make commuting more dangerous.

Here are 11 reasons, in no particular order, why many Indianapolis bike lanes are not safe:

1.  Lanes are too narrow.

2.  Broken pavement, debris and water in bike lane that causes sudden swerving.

3.  "Dooring," i.e. the sudden opening of the door of a parked car into a bike lane. Example of a highly dangerous dooring area is the downtown New York Street bike lane.

4.  Bike lanes going across traffic lanes.

5.  Lack of visibility.  Bile lanes put rider on the far side of the road where he or she may not be seen by approaching driver,  the complete opposite advice of "riding wide" given by bicycle safety experts.

6.  Speed disparity.  Lanes are put on roads with high speed traffic, like Allisonville Road..

7.  High curbs.that trap a bicyclist when a vehicle begins drifting toward the biker.

8.  Bike lanes create a false sense of security for bicyclists.  People believe the painted bike lane line somehow magically protects them from vehicles.

9.  Bike lanes narrow traffic lanes causing vehicles to pass much closer to the bicyclist than otherwise would be if they shared the road.

10. Downtown service vehicles often park in bike lanes.

11.  Bike lanes encourage novice bicylists, without the proper training and experience, to ride on dangerous streets.


Citizen Kane said...

I said similar things to someone from the Mayor's Office of Sustainability and specifically mentioned New York Street and Allisonville Road. She countered by saying that she likes the dedicated bike lanes because of him, as she pointed towards her six year old son. At that point, I walked away, as anyone who thinks that bike lanes on Allisonville Road are safe for a six-year old is a lost cause.

Paul K. Ogden said...


You should have called CPS. Anyone who would let let their six year old child ride a bike on an Allisonville bike lane with cars buzzing by them at 50 mph just feet away should not be permitted to raise children.