City Desk

Bike Lanes Good For Everyone?

We could file this under "duh," but it's worth pointing out anyway: Bike lanes make life easier for cyclists and drivers.

A new study out of Johns Hopkins University found that in Baltimore, 17 percent of drivers didn't give cyclists the requisite three feet of space when passing them—unless the cyclist was in a bike lane.

Good thing we're getting a lot more bike lanes this year.

Full report here.

Photo by Thisisbossi via Flickr/Creative Commons Attribution Generic 2.0 License

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  • drez

    I think the accompanying photo is of a "sharrow"- a lane marking that indicates cyclists and motorists are to share the lane of travel. Which is all good, but the opposite of what the story is about.

  • Shani Hilton

    @drez: It is a sharrow! [Something something the picture illustrates a sharrow which is not as good as a bike lane something something Shani was in too much of a hurry to look for a picture of a bike lane.]

  • Jack

    Maybe it's because streets with bike lanes are, by definition, wider than streets without. Sharrows are used only where there's not enough width for a bike lane, so of course the bicyclist gets squeezed. Dumb, utterly meaningless study.

    Do bike lanes make life "easier"? Yes, but only because the existence of the bike lane tells drivers that the bicyclist has a legal right to be there, and just maybe he ought not to harass the poor bicyclist for daring to be on the automobile road. Sharrows ought to do the same, but how many drivers know what that funny symbol means?

  • Teddy

    I guess bike lanes give bike riders the right to ignore stop signs and red lights. That's what I see most around the city. In DC, the laws of the road do not apply to anyone on two wheels.

  • Drez

    Bikes are to stop signs as cars ate to speed limits?

  • Ben

    @ Teddy
    Unfortunately, I agree. I'm all for bicycle rights (bicycle rights!) and I can definitely sympathize with the plight of bikers trying to dodge a-hole drivers in giant SUVs, cab drivers, and the rest of the DC traffic nightmare, but there can't be a double standard. If bikers are going to demand respect from drivers, they need to show equal respect to pedestrians. I've had so many close calls as a pedestrian in DC crosswalks with bikers disobeying traffic laws (particularly with DC's remaining bike messengers).