I haven't been able to confirm those deaths were in bike lanes. However, on my way home from working a southside polling place, I traveled up Madison Avenue where I had heard a bicycle fatality had happened on Monday. There are two very narrow traffic lanes going each direction with a turn lane in the middle. The outer lanes are bordered by a high curb. On the pavement alongside the curb, along the edge of the outer traffic lane is a painted emblem of a bike with signs along the road saying it has a bike lane.
|This is the type of emblem which |
appears on Madison Avenue
(without the bike lane lines on either
side). The emblem is in the right side
of a narrow traffic lane bordered
by a high curb, an extremely
dangerous situation for a bicyclist.
Of course, the fact these aren't actual bike lanes has not stopped the City from counting them as additional bike lane miles. In a news release in April, the Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard bragged how the Madison Avenue bike lane would go from County Line to Shelby Street. But as I noted, it is not even a real bike lane. It is just painted emblems of a bicycle on the right side of a traffic lane.
WTHR recently did a report on the confusing bike lanes and quoted a courier who rides 20-60 miles in Indianapolis every day who sees the lanes as very dangerous and avoids them:
"I personally rarely ride in a bike lane. It is a death trap," said Scott Harris, a bike courier.The WTHR story also talks about how traffic lanes have been significantly narrowed. Many of the ones reduced to create bike lanes are now not even big enough to hold wide motor vehicles. As a result, the vehicle ends up with a tire on or in the bike lane.
Scott Harris is a professional courier and rides 20 to 60 miles a day. He has been hit by cars a couple of times.
The problems he sees with the bike lanes is chiefly driver inattention "because you are either facing doors swinging open at you at all times and then you are also dealing with the turn lanes, the transition around the turn lanes. I would rather be a car lane with a car in front of me and car behind."
Let's see if IndyCog and other recreational biking groups will stop acting as cheerleaders long enough to address the very real safety problems of these bike lanes. I won't hold my breath.