I read on here, and other sites, lots of complaints about bicycle lanes. They are too narrow, contain too much debris, finish in the wrong place, are full of parked cars etc.
There is rarely a bike lane in force when I'm riding so I just ride in the road, follow the rules, look over my shoulder and indicate my moves and *touchwood* haven't had any problems. Those who ride in bike lanes seem to have an endless stream of issues, Would we be better off without bike lanes altogether?
Are some riders so engrained in the mentality that the thin strip of paint that signifies a bike lane from a "car" lane makes them safe and once that security blanket is removed and they have to mix it with other traffic they struggle to adapt. Some car drivers seem to think that bikes belong in a bike lane and nowhere else, and some drivers resent us in "their" lane. Maybe we'd be better off without them altogether and just share the road..
The stripe of paint that marks a bike lane has the dual effect of hearding cyclists to the left of the road as well as giving drivers a guide line to help them position the vehicle on the road so they can leave room for cyclists ahead (seen or unseen).
I like bike lanes, especially when I commute to work, and I do notice better cycle awareness and consideration (though never perfect by any means) when lanes are marked. For example, the bike lane (even though shared with busses) on Pulteney Street feels way more safe compared to Frome Road where there isn't one.
Go for a spin one morning in commuter traffic and you can compare and contrast for yourself. Alternatively, try driving down both in a car and see how many times you feel tempted to 'squeeze' past (ie side swipe) a slow rider on the road without lanes!
I often catch a bus to work that goes along Anzac Highway and have seen busses get extremely close to cyclists. I think the bus drivers and car drivers following them need that little white line for guidance.
Pat, I have been hit twice in bike lanes.
I will ride in the bike lane if it's there, otherwise I ride like a road user...
My regular commute down The Parade has a very nice bike lane separate from and on the right of the car parking space. If you ride in the middle of that bike lane you are squarely in the "door zone" :-(
Don't get me wrong, I think bike lanes are important and I'm keen to see more of them. Are they implemented perfectly? Arguably not. Should we get rid of them and just mix it with the traffic? Well some would and do subscribe to that idea but I think bike lanes do serve a purpose and do make the roads a safer place for the cyclist. That said, if your gonna ride on the road then you must know how to mix it with the traffic. The bike lane is only one piece to the safety puzzle.
The benefit of having a bike lane alongside parked cars if it is wide enough, you can ride in the right side of it and be out of the door zone, whereas if there is no bike lane, cars will often take that space and force you into the door zone.
And indeed I do. The thing is that I have read motorist comments in online news articles complaining that cyclists don't use the bike lanes and/or ride right on the right hand edge! Obviously they have no concept of being doored...
I think the main issues with bike lanes is that on the whole they seem to be an after thought. Our current roads were never deisgned to incorporate bike lanes. When they are put in they are squeezed into the carriageway and current road design effectively leaves them in the gutter. Ideas such as the Adelaide City Council painting them green should go some way improve safety.
Your last staement sums it up...share the road....if we can all be tolerant and accept that we share the road space we will all be safer.
I firmly believe in riding in traffic. It is impossible to cover any city completely in bicycle lanes meaning that at some stage on your ride you're going to be forced to ride in traffic. Therefore I'd rather see bicycles in traffic, riding like traffic and being accepted as traffic. Motorists do need to realize that bicycles are traffic, and to treat them accordingly. Hiding cyclists in lanes defeats that purpose.
I think it depends. On a very busy arterial road (say South Rd or Greenhill Rd) I wouldn't feel comfortable riding with or without a marked bike lane. On the other hand on quieter roads and suburban side roads I think the bike lane maybe helps drivers to realise that some of the space on the road is meant to be shared by cyclists. However, I also find that I will ride out in the main travel lane to avoid the door zone. But I think it has more to do with the average speed of the traffic (less than 60km/h). I have sometimes wondered whether we wouldn't be better off trading access to some routes (the major arterial roads) during peak hour, for significantly improved cycle infrastructure and arrangements actively "discriminating" in favour of bikes on other routes. But then, like I say, I would never cycle on a major arterial road anyway so it wouldn't be a loss for me. I used to commute in Sydney (in the 1990s) and found the only way to feel remotely safe was to ride like there was a 2m bike lane (i.e. well out into the travel lane) whether one was painted or not. Otherwise you would find yourself dangerously sqeezed into the gutter or almost side swiped by mirrors.
One place where I really appreciate bicycle lanes is on Montefiore Hill Road leading into Morphett Street. No vehicle parking so not within reach of opening car doors. Before bicycle lanes and during peak hour, some drivers would squeeze me out. Even move slowly towards the left kerb (red lights stopping metres of traffic ahead) as I came cycling up behind.
Bicycle lanes vary so much, the bicycle lane down Anzac Highway as far as Marion Road is so attrocious I don't use it. THe bicycle Lane on Nth East road from Holden Hill to Medinidie is generally quite good although it does disappear at junctions etc but I find it invaluable if riding in peak period. Conversely I hate riding up Nth East Rd the sections where the path disappear (Mullers Rd and Suzholz Rd intersections) are really bad squeeze points, so much so I have found an alternative route which is actually quicker and very low traffic.
So overall I am in favour of bicycle lanes and will use them where practible and safe and think that all bicyle lanes should be audited for safety and improved (not removed) where found lacking. If we can afford the millions of dollars being spent on a cricket ground that will only be used to full capacity once or twice a year then we can afford to improve cycling infrastructure.
I agree that bicycle lanes are good in some places, but there are so many that
Bicycle lanes give a guideline for those motorists (who seem to be in large numbers) who have a spatial relationship problem with their car - i.e. they don't know where their car position is on the road and can't judge distances, These people just drive by a cyclist and hope they don't hit him, and then they can be seen worriedly checking in their rear view mirrors, after they have passed, to see how they went. Their driving skills are quite "hit and miss". (PTP)
Clive what is the alternative route? I don't have so much of a problem with Mullers but if you catch the lights wrong at Sudholz it does get very tight.