In January, 2014, I completed and uploaded a video to Vimeo, the on-line video hosting site.
Today (March 22, 2014) I updated it, replacing a still image of Karen Karabell with bike helmet-mounted video I took last August while cycling down Manchester Ave. and crossing Kingshighway with Karen following close behind. The video illustrates in under a minute just ONE of the problems with bike lanes: the risk of a car-bike collision with a following motorist due to a right-hook. This is not such an uncommon occurrence, as is clear from previous blogs here and articles on the CyclingSavvy website. The current focus was inspired by cyclist Susan Herzberg’s unfortunate experience on Manchester-MO Rte. 100 after MoDOT removed a regular travel lane to add bike lanes in October 2013, following road resurfacing during the summer.
According to the responsible MoDOT engineer, Deanna Venker, P.E., the restriping followed consultations with, among others, Great Rivers Greenway, St. Louis City Streets Department, Alderman Scott Ogilvie in whose 24th Ward this road is located, and P.E. and Missouri Bike-Ped. Federation president Paul Wojciechowski, all of whom support bike lanes.
(Paul Wojciechowski, P.E., is a disappointment. He took the very first bike ed. class I conducted after I became a certified League of American Bicyclists Cycling Instructor (LCI #625) in 1997. At the time Paul was Director of Planning in MoDOT’s regional District 6. Paul has also become a certified instructor himself (LCI #3558), which should have provided additional insight into the dangers of bike lanes.)
Even without a bike lane stripe, many novice cyclists, and even sometimes more experienced cyclists, ride much too close to the curb or parked cars “to keep out of the way of traffic.” They don’t realize that they reduce their risk greatly by controlling the lane on multi-lane roads, (with the possible exception of high volume and/or high speed roads) given that typical lanes are only 12 ft wide, too narrow to share safely.
However, the existence of a bike lane stripe prejudices the ability of competent on-road cyclists to control the lane when necessary to maximize safety, while novice and less-confident cyclists now believe the road is safe for them. Motorists, meanwhile, have fewer lanes in which to travel, potentially leading to increased congestion and conflict with competent cyclists resulting from undesirable traffic engineering decisions.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS:My thanks to Karen Karabell, who runs CyclingSavvy St. Louis, for the time we’ve spent on the two occasions we’ve ridden or visited this road to obtain video or photos. That includes Saturday, January 18, 2014, when during the shooting there was a brief snow flurry, visible in this video.
Nick Kasoff originally read the script accompanying the video because I was concerned that my British accent, which I still retain after 37 years in the U.S., might puzzle some Americans. I wrote a new script for this updated version and for simplicity, dubbed my own commentary.
And finally, thanks also to Susan Herzberg, who has assisted by telling her story and helping to publicize it.