Monday, November 17, 2008
The Silver Standard
Austin Texas is a "Silver" rated Bicycle Friendly town by the League of American Bicyclists.
This is one of Austin's 3' wide bike lanes along a 40 mph thoroughfare (gutter pan does not count according to the AASHTO Guide, and shouldn't, because the seam between the road pavement and the gutter-pan is dangeous to bicyclists). There were no advance warning signs that the bike lane ends, just cones. Of course, there were no cyclists, either, and who could blame them for avoiding this facility like the plague?
I'm not really picking on Austin, because this is typical of what you'll find in any politically-mandated installation. There's no real "traffic engineering" involved beyond keeping cars moving freely. By keeping cyclists confined (segregated) into that narrow "lane", motorists don't have to deflect when they pass, and thereby pass cyclists closer than they would otherwise, and faster.
To be rated "Bike Friendly Silver" by the LAB, apparently all it takes is a can of Magick Paint™.
Magick Paint™: The Plague on American Bicycling.
Note: If that street simply had a wide curb lane, non curb-bunny cyclists would place themselves about where the stripe is, or a foot to the left or right of the stripe (some would move further to the left, toward the middle of the lane). The result would be that motorists would pull around them to pass, giving the cyclists more clearance, and the cyclists would easily and safely maneuver around the curb-cut construction.