View Full Version : Outline of bicycle lane markings spotted on Capitol overpass at Barbur

09-21-2010, 11:07 PM
It looks like ODOT or PBOT is planning a bicycle lane for just the Capitol overpass for eastbound Capitol traffic going northbound on Barbur. This might be useful if they had a bike lane all the way down the hill. But, instead, the existing eastbound bike lane ends before Terwilliger. The dashed lines start just before the overpass.

I've been taking this route for the last 5 years or so. Going eastbound, I've learned to just take the lane where the bike lane ends and then rejoin the bike lane where it starts again on Barbur, after I'm over the overpass and slowing down.

One interpretation of ORS 814.420 requires me to use this bike lane, if they actually stripe it. But, since the bike lane is not continuous, I think that it's just safer to take the motor vehicle lane. The downhill enables me to keep up with other traffic. This, I think, is an example where it would be better to just leave things as they are now.

Here's some still pictures from my helmet camera:




Or, you can watch the youtube video from which these stills are taken here (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_mDaj7iLWvI)

09-23-2010, 06:29 AM
how often do you see bikes merging in from the path on the right? I wouldn't think very often... but if so then that right path will need a yield sign...

09-23-2010, 08:36 AM
Spiffy raises a really good point which I hadn't thought of.

For others who may be following this discussion, the path on the right which Spiffy references is sort of visible in the 3rd still picture. It shows up more clearly in the youtube video.

That path on the right is the continuation of the northbound Barbur Blvd. bike lane. That northbound bike lane separates from Barbur just before the Capitol overpass. This design means northbound bicyclists don't have to merge across the motor vehicle lane coming off of the overpass.

I recall another bicyclist arriving from the path on the right, at the same time that I was coming down the hill, once in the 5 years I've been doing this route. I recall that

I said, loudly, "on your left."
I treated it as a passing situation
I delayed my merge into the bike lane so as to not run into the other cyclist.

Say they do paint that bike lane on the Capitol overpass. Then, say a bicyclist is following the first clause of 814.420 (http://www.leg.state.or.us/ors/814.html) and is using that bike lane. Then there is going to be a potential conflict where the 2 paths meet. The bicyclist coming down the hill will probably have built up a lot of speed. The downhill bicyclist dodging a northbound Barbur bicyclist will either have to hit the brakes hard, or suddenly veer into the motor vehicle lane. The cars will not expect that. That's potentially dangerous. So it a "Yield to bicycle lane traffic" sign for the northbound Barbur bicycle traffic would be a really good idea.

Furthermore, while I'm not a lawyer, I think that that potential conflict would provide more ammunition for an 814.420 traffic violation defense under the later clauses of 814.420. A bicyclist keeping up with other traffic on Capitol, you maybe could argue, is travelling at a "reasonable rate of speed." Sure, it's fast for a bicycle, but it's not faster than the speed the rest of the traffic is going. And there hasn't been a public hearing about this particular path. So maybe that falls under the exception provided in 814.420(2). The 814.420(3)(a) exception may apply since there may be a bicycle coming northbound. 814.420(3)(c) may also apply. But, again, I'm not a lawyer.

09-24-2010, 03:45 PM
You can see from your video that a rider coming down off Capitol can pretty clearly see the bike path off to the right. A bicyclist on the path, being higher off the ground, would be even more visible to a rider on Capitol. I ride on Barbur for most of my commute including taking that path around Capitol and I can tell you that the angle where Capitol joins the path, and the guard rail on Capitol, make it pretty difficult to see if anyone is coming.

I'd say a sign warning cyclists on Capitol to yield to those on the path would be much more likely to prevent accidents. :D

09-24-2010, 08:33 PM
I think the potential conflict is serious. I have ridden both sides of this new merge.

When I ride Capitol I take the lane. With the current treatment I am usually going over 30mph when I reach the merge point. I always wait until I have cleared the blind merge to enter the bike lane.

When I ride Barbur I have usually carried a lot of speed over the bridge (where I also take the lane on 99). I bleed a bit of it off to handle the narrow path and corners, and having ridden Capitol I look for conflict there, but since it feels like you are "going straight on Barbur" it is not a place where you expect to yield. Certainly automobile traffic on Barbur does not yield to Capitol at this point.

Has anyone figured out what jursidiction is making this change and discussed it with a traffic engineer? This sounds like a serious recipie for disaster.

09-25-2010, 12:34 PM
The markings are a TERRIBLE idea. Terrible.

It is a high speed downhill, I usually do that between 30 and 35mph, and I think, it is signed at 35. Cars can and do however go faster, 40-45. I have been honked at many times on the overpass. That is probably why they want the bike lanes.

The bike lane is far too narrow however. Its simply unsafe to be traveling on that hill with a foot on either side of you. So, take the lane, and drivers will be even more upset because you aren't in the bike lane (which is unsafe by its design). I've been honked at going down Terwilliger at the limit, because I wasn't in the bike lane, and been scolded for not being in the bike lane at the end of the Jefferson exit, where its an overgrown shoulder, not even a bike lane.

Additionally, this is a winter route for many since its flatter than Terwilliger, or the Broadway-26-Zoo routes. During poor weather, ice forms on bridges first. The photos show 2 bridges... Cars help keep the center dryer, and less icy.

Bike lanes do not belong on steep downhills.

10-12-2010, 09:05 AM
this just in from Justin Ramsay on the Shift list:

Just a heads up, when headed northbound on SW Barbur, the ramp for cyclists to bypass the traffic coming from beaverton-hillsdale highway has changed. It is kind of in a strange spot since you have to take the lane on the bridge just before it. The new entrance to the ramp is just a few feet past the old, but the old now has a pile of asphalt that would likely cause quite the wipeout otherwise.

I didn't see any signage alerting cyclists of the change, but I may have missed it. Anyhow, be careful out there.

so setha, can you get some new pictures of this?

is this redesign on a city/county web site somewhere?