|You can paint whatever lines on this street that you want- It doesn't mean a thing.|
Then I saw where a study by two universities basically have come to the same conclusion. The studies say that cities with protected bike lanes realized a 44% reduction in fatalities for cyclists. No kidding! It was one of those, "Did they really have to spend money on a study for this?" moments for me. But then again- like I say- I've been in this game for almost two decades now.
Another chunk of personally observed experience came into play last year when the fair city of Waterloo, Iowa took a four lane street and divvied it up with painted lines and reduced the available lanes from four to two. They also reduced the speed limit to 20mph. Most of the time there have been no barriers except for a few months last year where they set in some pole barriers to direct traffic around the convoluted painted "bike lane", but only at intersections.
I've been paying attention to this and have cycled this street a lot in the last year. By the way, I never use the painted in "bicycle lane". Why? Becuase of what I observe as a situation that is unsafe, and definitely not as safe as using the wide sidewalk which runs nearly the entire bike lane on this street. My reasoning is that, based upon my observations, that drivers are far less likely to strike me with their vehicles when I am on a slightly elevated paved surface protected by a curb.
|Pathways separated from motor vehicle traffic are my preferred routes to take, when the take you somewhere.|
So, I get it. The study verifies my findings as well. Get cyclists and motor vehicle traffic separated and everyone will get along better and there will be less injury and death. It's a no-brainer. And I should be completely transparent and fair and tell you that this street which I used as an example is supposedly due to get a make-over which will feature separated bike lanes. Physically separated bike lanes. But I thought this from the onset- don't do a half-assed job and paint of bunch of lines on a street. That doesn't separate us from the dangers of traffic. It is pretty much a waste of effort and money. Do it right, or don't do it at all.
So, until it is done right, and we get separation, I'm going to create my own separation whenever possible. You can bag on me all you want for riding the sidewalk downtown, but I'm not willing to trust distracted, uncaring, unskilled drivers in three to five ton boxes of steel, plastic, and rubber barreling down this street at well over twice the posted speed limit. And of course, we all know that if I were in the street and got taken out by one of these people driving a motor vehicle, that they would get off with a mere slap on the wrist while I'm either dead or maimed. Nope. Not gonna take that painted, so called "bike lane" ever.