View Full Version : Bike Lane Woes

02-15-2007, 09:25 AM
I'm a multi-modal commuter, so this actually happened while I was driving, but it's a consistent problem at that intersection. I was stopped in the only Northbound traffic lane at the light, with my turn signal on waiting to turn right. There happens to be a very wide bike lane there, so I was over a car width away from the curb. While I'm waiting for the traffic to clear and/or the light to change a northbound driver approaches, then comes around me on my right to make a right turn! He's completely in the bike lane, but his vehicle has four wheels and a whole bunch of metal.

Now, this worries me as both a driver and an occasional cyclist. Had I not been as aware of what was going on behind me that morning, I very well could have pulled directly into his path. And I don't think most drivers even double check for a two wheeled vehicle when making a turn there.

What's the proper procedure at intersections such as these? I am of the opinion that bike lanes are for bikes and therefore, motorist shouldn't be driving in them. However, at the same time, it seems silly to be a car length a way from the curb when you're turning right.

02-15-2007, 10:58 AM
It's fully legal for an automobile to be in the bike lane if it is turning right. When I'm driving I go all the way over to the right and into the bike lane to prevent idiots in automobiles doing what happened in your experience. But also, I want cyclists who are continuing straight on to go around me on the left. I feel that's far safer than one approaching on my right and me possibly not noticing. That's also what I want automobiles to do when I'm biking. And, in that situation, as I approach the right-turning car I will hold my left arm out to signal, look over my shoulder, and (as is safe) merge left into the regular lane of traffic. Many drivers don't like this and apparently believe I don't have the right to do this. They're wrong. As I said, I think this is the safest option and I think that this should be the standard practice; if it were, drivers would soon learn (hopefully).

02-15-2007, 12:45 PM
at the 7 corners intersection. While, not a marked bike lane it is a "bike route". I almost got hit there about a month ago on a Saturday morning by someone doing just what you described. The driver, fully aware of my presence, tried to speed up to pass me and then cut to the right to turn east on Division. I think this is THE prime example of why Portland should begin building wide, spacious, SEPARATED Bike Lanes along the Dutch model- SAFETY
Protect them and they will ride.
< warning- rant to follow >This is a good discussion to piggy-back on Jonathon's article about bike sharing. Obviously more people will ride these shared bikes if the infrastructure is conducive to biking over driving. I just don't buy the need for parking in front of Downtown retailers.

02-18-2007, 03:55 PM
I know I'll take a beating for this, but here goes. I don't think bicycles and cars belong on the same roads. In this day and age you would have to be Helen Keller, to not know of all the benefits of bicycle commuting. Because of this, I think cities should be spending the money on designing & building an infrastructure of bicycle roads or lanes, for bicycles only. I think this would also promote more people to commute, knowing they weren't going to be sharing the road with cars and trucks, but instead having access to exclusive bicycle lanes taking them were they want or need to go.

Before everyone jumps on me I would like to say, I firmly believe we have a right to ride on the street, I just don't think bicycles and cars sharing the road is the best idea. Also, I've commuted for years so I'm not speaking as a recreational weekend rider.

02-19-2007, 08:27 AM
w/ Spinner. Bikes and cars don't belong on the same road.
I think most folks would have to agree it is better, if they had ever used a separated cycling system.
I really we have great facilities here in Portland, but that doesn't mean they as good as they should be.
Separation = Protection= more People on Bikes for regular transit.
I don't understand the need to be included in street traffic.
Remove Parking, Build Bike Lanes.

02-19-2007, 12:41 PM
outlawing bikes on streets except for designated bike lanes would be a travesty. you would have more people breaking the rules just so they could ride. what would you propose for the millions of bikers across the country who train, and not just commute, on their bikes? they would not be allowed on the roads. The 1% of the populace and 1% of the oregon transportation budget couldnt pay for the safe bike only lanes necessary for riding for everyone. Then we would all be SOL. The solution is to expand the bike blvd's as much as possible and continue to expand the use of traffic calming devices. As more cyclists feel riding is safe, they will, and as more people ride, more people will be seen by drivers, and then maybe some bike only streets will be close economically feasible and supported by the non riding public. as it stands now, there isnt enough use of existing infrastructure to justify the millions it take to build new bike only lanes. bikes stacked 4 deep at madison/hawthorne and grand at 7:45 in the morning doesnt make a dent in the 100 cars backed up to 12th street. taking a lane away from those users would only piss them off, and then they'd vote to kill and maim any city planner/commision/transportation figurehead who helped to make traffic worse. The "build it and they will come" philosophy is a hard sell to the majority of fat, lazy, and ill americans.

02-19-2007, 02:23 PM
Fetishridr, I'm not an anti-bike advocate. I just think cyclists deserve better.
Years ago when the SUV craze hit, most people were buying them because a bigger vehicle is "safer", in an accident. The roads are filled with cars, trucks, and SUV's, and when there's a deadly accident between an automobile and bicycle, the automobile driver almost always gets off with just a slap on the wrist.

We can build sidewalks to walk on, why can't we build auto-free bike lanes for safe cycling? As for financially feasible...if auto-free bike lanes were built, more people would commute by bicycle, thus reducing congestion on the roads.

02-19-2007, 02:54 PM
The facts are that in places with dedicated bike ways there are MILLIONS of bikes in use. The populace on a whole are much more inclined to ride. The cyclists feel safe, so they ride. Simple enough.
Sure some of these folks ride (train) on the road, but in the country or outlying urban areas. However; they also accept that in the inner cities and to get out of the city they must use bike lanes. Sorry, but there are far more reasons to separate traffic then to continue to ride together. Bike Boulevards are a great idea in outlying, small, low traffic streets. For high traffic, main streets and commuter routes we must move toward separated bike lanes.
All I'm saying is that in order for PDX to move to level of world class cycling city we need this type of infrastructure.

02-19-2007, 03:05 PM
All I'm saying is that in order for PDX to move to level of world class cycling city we need this type of infrastructure.

Well Said!

Matt P.
02-22-2007, 11:56 AM
It's fully legal for an automobile to be in the bike lane if it is turning right.

Yep, ORS 811.440(2)(a). The exact quote is "A person may operate a motor vehicle upon a bicycle lane when: (a) Making a turn".

Here's the question, though - what constitutes "making a turn"? One vehicle length? 5 vehicle lengths? I don't think riding half a city block in the bike lane constitutes "making a turn", myself, but I'm not a judge or an attorney. Personally I think the statute should be amended to include the acceptable distance - a project for the BTA, perhaps?

02-22-2007, 12:01 PM
what constitutes "making a turn"? One vehicle length? 5 vehicle lengths?

Excellent question Matt.