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Friday, March 9, 2012

U of M Bike Lanes: Bad Design, Bad Results [rideboldly.org]


Editor's Note: This is from April 2011. - My fear about the current initiative in Columbus is implementation. If the proposed bike lanes are going to follow the precedent of the few existing lanes in Columbus then we will end up with issues.
In the wake of yesterday’s cyclist death near the University of Minnesota, I pointed out that the bike lanes near along 4th and University do not seem to meet current accepted standards for width, although I’ve not personally measured them.Twin Cities Sidewalks observes that the post-tragedy discussion is likely to center on bicyclist and pedestrians being careful, rather than touching off a much-needed discussion of the poor roadway design in the University and Dinkytown areas.
Twin Cities Sidewalks is right. High-speed roadways through the heart of campus, with or without bike lanes, are dumb, yet that’s what University, 4th and even Washington Avenue amount to. The bike lanes are built such that campus buses will migrate in and out of the bike lane at spots to pick up and discharge passengers. The lane placement encourages cyclists to overtake motorists on the curb side and requires skilled lane passage to make left turns. Lanes also set up numerous right-hook opportunities, placing the bike lane to the right of potential right-turning vehicles. This is especially obvious and serious near I35-W, but is true throughout the campus area. The number of opportunities for life-changing accidents is pretty huge.

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