Monday, May 11, 2009
As posted below, the above photo shows the perfectly acceptable, and legal, way to ride a bicycle like a vehicle.
However, it has dawned on me that the 2-3' edge stripe in this picture would be perfectly acceptable as a bike lane in many places (like Austin), and probably similar to the ones Dallas and Ft. Worth will soon be getting (and that you will be legally required to ride in), considering the already sub-standard lane widths of most arterials and thoroughfares (BTW: That service road has a wide outside lane... built as required by the now abandoned Dallas Bike Plan).
Which brings up another fun question regarding the proposed "safe passing" law currently hanging around the legislature like a copperhead along a trail. If Lisa was riding in the far left of the above "bike lane" (I kid you not, there are bike lanes with that same usable width in the State Capitol), how close could a truck legally pass her?
1) Six feet?
2) Three feet?
3) Or (if both operators stayed in their own lanes) by just inches?
If the road is a three-lane arterial (each direction), that has been re-striped to provide a 3' bike lane, you will have three very narrow travel lanes, and because misery loves company, a very narrow bike lane you will be required to ride in. Passing cars and trucks (six and eight feet wide) will not be required to change lanes to pass, because their lane is clear, nor will they be required to straddle an adjacent lane. That 8' wide truck will pass you with a foot or two of clearance (or less), legally, silly feel-good law or not.
And you, legal bicycle vehicle operator, will be unable to control any lane except your bike lane. As ChipSeal said, "We need better bike advocates."